On Wednesday, 26 April, a meeting of the subcommittee on combating human trafficking was held in the greek parliament on the subject: “National referral mechanism for the recognition of victims of trafficking – Implementation of the legislative framework to combat human trafficking”.
The Hellenic Center for Disease Control and Prevention was represented by Chrysa Botsi, physician and scientific supervisor of PHILOS programme, with the participation of representatives from the Ministries of Education and Finance, respectively, as well as representatives of the Asylum Service, the Hellenic Coast Guard and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Particular attention was placed on the need to train front-line professionals (police officers, health inspectors, healthcare professionals working in the national health system and in the open refugee camps) in order to identify timely victims of human trafficking.
Significant contributions to compating the phenomenon are the new structures for hosting women – victims of violence, made by the General Secretariat for Gender Equality, which, however, are not adequate to cover urgent events, for instance men and young people – victims of trafficking, as underlined by Spyros Bratsikas, Captain of Hellenic Police, and by Theodoros Georgopoulos, Inspector of Labour Relations of the Labour Inspectorate (SEPE).
During the meeting, it was presented the training program on human trafficking and its implications on victims health, realized by PHILOS health professionals. The training program provided by HCDCP was reported by Vlassis Karyotis, representative of the Hellenic Coast Guard and by Andromache Lazaridis, a representative of the International Organization for Migration, as PHILOS’ educational material is used in IOM’s educational programs implemented in Greece.
The Chairman of the subcommittee, MP Aphrodite Stamboulis, requested for further information on the possible extension of the programme to the areas where the urgent need for recognition victims of trafficking is emerged, while Mrs Botsi informed the subcommittee on HCDCP’s request to extend PHILOS programme to the islands of the eastern Aegean.
The Golden Dawn MP Giannis Aivatidis, asked Mrs. Botsi for additional information concerning health proffesionals’ training and their ability of recognizing victims of trafficking. It was also highlighted the major training gap having health professionals on this field, the importance of the training provided by PHILOS staff and the ability of HCDCP to extend the training scheme in the national health system.
The representatives of Hellenic Police and Hellenic Coast Guard proposed the creation of a common training platform in order to make the best use of trainers potential. It was also highlighted the need to manage and collect data on victims’ health problems both for humanitarian and public health reasons, as are often related to sexual transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS, drug abuse and hepatitis.