From Greece to Germany: a criminal network for the illegal transfer of young children

A major international child trafficking network has been dismantled. Underage immigrants between the ages of 3 and 7 were transported from Greece to Germany.

The criminal scheme was well thought out and debugged. Even special nannies looked after the babies in both countries – Greece and Germany. The 41-year-old Syrian leader of the group was arrested in the Greek capital.

The investigation of criminal acts and the operation to suppress them were carried out by the Immigration Administration Department of the Attica Aliens Authority and the German police authorities, coordinated by EUROPOL. “Operation Hook” (code name) allowed the elimination of the largest international network, it became part of the implementation of the National Business Plan (NBP) and the EMPACT program to combat illegal immigration, led by our country.

For the transportation of each child, participants in the criminal scheme received 4,500-6,000 euros. In the case of sending adults to Germany, they provided them with passports, each of which cost from 500 to 1200 euros.

A Syrian arrested in Athens headed the organization, and criminal cases were opened against five foreigners. Two of them are permanent residents of Germany. One woman is wanted for involvement in illegal immigration and a warrant has been issued for her arrest by the relevant authorities.

The investigation revealed at least ten cases of illegal transfer from Greece to Germany, seven children and five adults, members of a transnational criminal network. And it all started over two years ago.

In September 2019, the Greek authorities became aware of the transfer of a small 3-year-old Syrian girl from Athens to Germany. They contacted their colleagues in Germany to check. However, “His Majesty the case” intervened – during the flight, a malfunction was discovered in the plane, and it landed in Italy. Thus, the woman accompanying the child managed to avoid an unwanted meeting with the German law enforcement officers who were waiting for her at the German airport, and get to her destination in a different way.

However, this incident started an investigation that eventually ended in the dismantling of a network of child traffickers. To begin with, we carefully studied the identity of the woman who accompanied the child. It turned out that she is 26 years old, she lives legally in Germany and often flies to Greece without staying there for a long time. She played an important role in the criminal scheme, acting as a mother in transporting babies and using documents bought on the black market.

The headquarters of the organization was rented by a 41-year-old Syrian 120 sq.m. in Agios Panteleimonas. Here was a room where a Syrian nanny looked after the children placed there. It looks like a “private kindergarten”.

Transfer of children was carried out from the airports of Athens and Thessaloniki. Sometimes direct flights to Germany were used, sometimes they flew through Spain, Switzerland and Italy, and sometimes they traveled by ferry from Igoumenitsa to Italy and from there to Germany.

The newspaper BILD published a long article about the investigation and the actions of the Greek police, which caused a huge resonance in German society. And the work of the Greek law enforcement continues – they are conducting, with the help of Interpol, an investigation into other participants in the criminal scheme. And also find out if there are branches of the organization in other countries.

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