On August 28, thirty members of the Greek NGO Emergency Response Centre International (ERCI) were arrested for their involvement in human trafficking. Another six Greeks and 24 foreign nationals have been implicated in the case.
They belonged to a network operating on the island of Lesbos. According to Greek police: “The activities of an organised criminal network that systematically facilitated the illegal entry of foreigners were fully exposed.”
The smugglers were involved in forgery, espionage and the illegal monitoring of both the Greek coastguard and the EU border agency, Frontex, to obtain information about Turkish migrant flows.
ECRI received 2 000 euros from each illegal immigrant it smuggled into Greece. In addition, its members obtained funding for “integrating refugees” into Greek society. That meant at least 5 000 euros per immigrant per year obtained from various government programs to advance education, housing and nutrition.
Greece is a country which has been struggling economically, while ERCI has earned considerable sums of money for being a conduit for illegal activities despite its stated mission.
In 2017, Greek authorities arrested 1 399 people-smugglers, some under the cover of “humanitarian” operations, while in the first four months of 2018, authorities arrested 25 594 illegal immigrants.
Sadly, immigration has taken its toll on Greek society as a whole. According to Greek police statistics, there were 75 707 robberies and burglaries reported in 2017. Of these cases only 15 048 were solved, while 4 207 were committed by illegals.
Greek police estimate that more than 40 percent of serious crimes were committed by illegal immigrants. Immigrants in Greece – both legal and illegal – make up 10-15 of the total population.
In 2016, almost half of the Greek prison population convicted of serious crimes were foreigners.
In August a 25-year-old Greek college student from Athens – returning from his studies at a university in Scotland – was murdered by three illegal immigrants.
The three perpetrators, two Pakistanis and an Iraqi ranging in age from 17 to 28, had already been flagged by law enforcement for 10 additional robberies in the area.
In an angry letter to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, members of parliament and the mayor of Athens, the mother of the victim accused Tsipras of “criminal negligence” and “complicity” in her son’s murder.
“Instead of welcoming and providing ‘shelter and water’ to every criminal and dangerous individual with savage instincts,” she wrote, “should the state not think first of the safety of its own citizens, whose blood it drinks daily [economically]? [Should the state] abandon [its citizens] to ravenous gangs, for whom the worth of a human life has less meaning than the value of a cell phone or a gold chain?”