Greek police smash east European prostitution ring
Greek police have arrested 177 people around the country as they smashed an international ring that forced women from Russia and other east European countries into prostitution, an official said Thursday.
Among those arrested in the centre and north of the country were 15 Greek nationals, including the presumed ringleader, a baker who was charged with human trafficking and placed in preventive detention in 2008 until his conditional release a few months ago, the police official added.
Seventeen of the detainees were to appear before a prosecutor.
Greek police was continuing their investigation of the case in close cooperation with their Russian counterparts.
Greece has seen a major increase in trafficking involving east European women over the past 20 years coinciding with a wave of immigration from the area into western Europe.
The Greek branch of London-based Amnesty International has repeatedly criticized Greece for failing to seriously combat forced prostitution.
The United Nations said in October that there could be around 270,000 victims of human trafficking in the European Union, most of which were women forced into prostitution.
© 2010 AFP