Greek police have launched a criminal investigation into dozens of foreign aid workers on the island of Lesbos, who were allegedly in cahoots with human traffickers, delivering illegal migrants to Greece from Turkey.
The law enforcers said that they were investigating 35 people linked to unnamed NGOs, which were operating on the island.
Police studied their activities for months before concluding that, under the guise of humanitarian work, the suspects were actually cooperating with traffickers who were smuggling migrants into the country.
They used encrypted apps to provide information on assembly points on the Turkish shore, geographical coordinates of landing spots, accommodation areas at the Moria refugee camp and more, according to the police.
This scheme was employed on at least 32 occasions since last June and saw several thousand people entering Greece illegally.
“An investigation is underway to determine the full extent of the criminal organization’s illegal activity and its links,” the police said.
The probed NGO staff included citizens of Germany, Switzerland, France, Spain, Austria, Norway, Bulgaria, as well as Iran and Pakistan, according to Greek media reports.
Greek islands located near the Turkish shores – Lesbos, in particular – have become one of the main entry points to Europe for asylum seekers since the migrant crisis in 2015 and 2016.
Moria camp on Lesbos was the largest on the continent, hosting more than 12,000 people, before it was destroyed by fire earlier this month. The Greek authorities are now working to relocate the migrants to a temporary tent camp.
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