On Sunday, December 15, the Greek authorities arrested four Pakistanis that are members of a criminal organisation. According to the Greek Police, the organisation is specialised on seizing immigrants, smuggling them and keeping them captive until a relative would pay the ransom.
On the same day, the Greek police set free eight Syrians, who had been seized and held captive in a house in Koropi, a region close to Athens, Greece. The Syrians were found chained and heavily beaten. According to their testimonies, they were given scarce food and water, just enough to keep them alive, and they were forced to contact their families in order to arrange payment to the captors. If it wasn’t for two Syrians who managed to escape and seek help, the Greek Police would not have any information as to what was happening in the house.
Immigrants and refugees — mostly from belligerent or impoverished countries in Africa, Middle East and India — use Greece as the most common port of their entry to the European Union. During the past year, refugee traffic has increased dramatically due to the ongoing civil war in Syria. Last November, authorities in western Greece arrested three Greeks and a foreign national who are responsible for the drowning of 12 migrants — including four children — trying to flee to Italy in a fibreglass boat.