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Human Trafficking

Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children

In the first decade of the 21st Century                                                 

Republic of Greece

Greece has a capitalist economy with the public sector accounting for about 40% of GDP and with per capita GDP about two-thirds that of the leading euro-zone economies. Tourism provides 15% of GDP. Immigrants make up nearly one-fifth of the work force, mainly in agricultural and unskilled jobs.

Public debt, inflation, and unemployment are above the euro-zone average, but are falling.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Greece

CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Greece.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspect(s) of street life are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring how children got there, how they survive, and how some manage to leave the street.  Perhaps your paper could focus on how some street children abuse the public and how they are abused by the public … and how they abuse each other.  Would you like to write about market children? homeless children?  Sexual and labor exploitation? begging? violence? addiction? hunger? neglect? etc.  There is a lot to the subject of Street Children.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.


Street children remain a common sight in Greece

Deutsche Presse-Agentur (German Press Agency) DPA, Athens, 28 Oct 2007

[accessed 17 January 2017]

Carrying a bag full of lighters, key chains and other trinkets, 11-year-old Marenella walks through the cafe-lined streets of Monastiraki Square in central Athens selling her wares. Rain or shine, Marenella can be seen touting her goods to locals and tourists in the hope of meeting the daily quota enforced by her mother who waits in the shadows nearby.

Two streets away, Iliana, 10, and her younger sister Christina roam from one table to another in a bid to sell flowers and tissues.  "I went to school today and I am sent out every afternoon to help bring in money. My sister is always with me and together we help support our younger brothers and sisters," says Iliana.

Children of the Stoplights

Discarded Lies, January 14, 2005

[accessed 7 February 2011]

In Greece they're called "children of the stoplights" because they hang out at traffic lights selling small packets of tissues or washing windshields for small change.  They're not Greek, these children. Greek children are for the most part loved and well-taken care of, members of large, extended families, spoiled and adored.


*** ARCHIVES ***

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 9 February 2020]

CHILDREN - The law provides for free and compulsory education for a minimum of nine years. According to the 2001 census, 99.4 percent of school‑age children attended school, and most children completed secondary education. However, noncompliance with the compulsory education requirement was a significant problem in the Romani community. Research conducted by the Aghlaia Kyriakou state hospital showed that 63 percent of Romani children did not attend school.

Violence against children occurred, particularly against street children. The law prohibits the mistreatment of children and sets penalties for violators, and the government generally enforced these provisions effectively. According to the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and local NGOs, the majority of street children (often indigenous Roma or Albanian Roma) were exploited by family members who forced them to work in the streets, usually begging or selling small items.

Concluding Observations Of The Committee On The Rights Of The Child (CRC) - 2002

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1 February 2002

[accessed 7 February 2011]

[72] The Committee is concerned:

(a) At the number of children working and/or living on the street, and the numbers of Roma children in particular;

(b) At the lack of access of these children to education and health services;

(c) That young children illegally in the State party are expelled from the country without a process to examine what action would be in their best interests.

CRC Concludes Consideration Of Initial Report Of Greece

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child CRC, 29th session, 16 January 2002

[accessed 18 May 2011]

The delegation said that the situation of street children was a new phenomenon in Greece, and that centers and child-villages had been created to resolve the problem.  The centers provided free health, educational and psychological services, including pocket money, until the children finally returned to their families.

Committee On The Rights Of The Child - Summary Record Of The 754th Meeting

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child CRC, Twenty-ninth session, 16 January 2002

[accessed 18 May 2011]

[48] It was regrettable that child beggars over 12 years of age were referred to the courts, since it was the whole phenomenon of begging that needed to be addressed.  It was also regrettable that street children who had entered Greece illegally were expelled, in flagrant disregard of their best interests.

The Disappearance Of 502 Albanian Street Children [PDF]

International Secretariat of  The World Organisation Against Torture OMCT, January 24, 2005

[accessed 18 May 2011]


As there was no answer from the authorities, in March 2005, the Special Rapporteurs expressed to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights their “concern for the children who are still missing and exposed to a high risk of being exploited, trafficked or re-trafficked” and “reiterated their interest in receiving the reply of the Government to these allegations.

The U.N. Human Rights Committee in its concluding observations on Greece included this reference: “(t)he State party should conduct a judicial investigation concerning the approximately 500 children who went missing from the Aghia Varvara institution between 1998 and 2002 and provide the Committee with information on the outcome.

The facts above show that there has been a lack of proper concern for the potential loss or endangerment of hundreds of young innocent lives at the national level. To provide better protection for children, in February 2006, the Governments of Albania and Greece signed an assistance and protection agreement for the repatriation of Albanian children victims of trafficking. This agreement provides for the establishment of a national referral mechanism for the registration of the trafficking victims, so that they can be voluntarily returned, repatriated and referred to appropriate rehabilitation services and other providers.

The government of Albania has not initiated any unilateral action to try to locate the missing trafficked children.

The Risk Group of Unaccompanied Minor Migrants

Dr. Eugenia M. Markova, University of Sussex, This report was written in the framework of a research project on "Unaccompanied Minors as Vulnerable Groups" funded by the DAPHNE-programme of the European Commission

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 18 May 2011]

In a UNICEF Report (2001), the life story of an 11-year-old Albanian boy, begging on the streets of Thessaloniki, is told.  It is said that he had been begging on the streets of Thessaloniki since the age of five.  According to "Help the Children" in Albania, some 80% of the street children trafficked to Greece were either sexually abused or exploited, with street children over age 8 or 9, especially girls, typically victims of rape, sexual abuse or forced prostitution.

Comments on Greece's Replies to the UN CESCR List of Issues [DOC]

Greek Helsinki Monitor GHM, Minority Rights Group - Greece MRG-G, April 2004

[accessed 18 May 2011]

The assertion that the problem of street children is decreasing is puzzling because there appear to be no accurate statistics as to the number of street children in Greece.  The Greek state also admitted that The exact number of street children to whom the Minister of Health and Welfare provides protection and social care is not known.

Street Children in Contemporary Greece

Panagiotis Altanis & Jim Goddard, "Children & Society" Volume 18, Number 4, September 2004 , pp. 299-311(13), [John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.]

[accessed 18 May 2011]

[Abstract]  Overview of the problem of street children in Greece, within the context of global research on street children, and drawing on preliminary findings from recent research on street children in Athens.

Special Rapporteur Visits Greece

Jean-Miguel Petit, Special Rapporteur, Press Release 11/17/2005

[accessed 18 May 2011]

The situation of Roma and Roma children is a concern. I visited a Roma settlement in which housing conditions and sanitation are just not acceptable. Access to health and education is limited or lacking and social programs are not providing assistance to the community. The State should take specific measures to improve the living conditions and the possibilities of development of Roma communities to give to Roma children alternatives other than street work or prostitution as survival strategies for them and their families.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES.  Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Street Children - Greece",, [accessed <date>]