Human trafficking now takes place via an apparently legal route, through travel and employment agencies located in foreign countries, mainly the former Soviet Union, an expert said on Monday.
Journalist Pavlos Nerantzis told a seminar on "Trafficking in Human Beings" held in Thessaloniki on Monday, that human trafficking rings had changed their mode of operation, enlisting travel agencies to handle the issue of necessary travel documents for women wishing to come to Greece or go to other countries, Athens News Agency reported.
He added that as soon as these victims reached their destination, the travel documents were taken away from them and they were led to prostitution.
According to Nerantzis, another significant change concerned the individuals involved in human trafficking, who tended to be citizens beyond suspicion like bankers, civil servants, or even pensioners.
The Thessaloniki Police investigated a total of 15 major human trafficking cases in the past three years and charges were filed against approximately 200 individuals, both Greek and foreigners, while a total of 25 women were characterized as victims of forced prostitution.
Trafficking in human beings was first recorded in Greece in the 1990s resulting from the political changes in eastern European and Balkan countries. The victims' number is hard to estimate but annual profits in Europe are huge, reaching 10-12 billion euros.