INTERVIEW OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNION OF IMMIGRANTS IN GREECE MAY 27th , 2011

On the morning show of ALPHA 9,89 Radio Station, with Nikos Kamakaris,  the Chairman of the Union of Immigrants of Greece, Mr. Jean Daniel Colombani, spoke about the “dark routes” of black money of illegal immigration and the enrichment of the traffickers by exploiting the hope of people from countries of the world in crisis.

Nikos Kamakaris: According to figures released by the Department of Maritime Affairs, Security Division and involving the smuggling of illegal immigrants by sea, traffickers importing illegal immigrants into the country make more than 200 million euros a year. The amounts are huge, it is a normal business sector, if we are allowed the expression, we are going to discuss the issue with the President of the Union of Immigrants of Greece and colleague journalist, Mr. Jean Daniel Colombani.

What is the situation? These figures are very worrying, these amounts are huge, we are talking about so much money, slavers doing gold, Mr. Colombani.

Jean Daniel Colombani: Indeed, the situation has reached its limits, slavers are getting rich every day with large sums, starting from 500 to 5.000 euros to bring an illegal immigrant to Greece, East Bloc, Asia, Africa. This situation is what we of the Hellenic Immigrants Association are trying to record and study, which is in fact very difficult, both by the authorities and by the state.

Nikos Kamakaris: Mr Colombani, are the policies at national level in our country, as well as at European Union level, able to work in order to prevent illegal immigration?

Jean Daniel Colombani: Greece is in a strategic point next to Balkans, next to Turkey, has vast maritime areas on the border with Turkey, so it is a bit difficult, but can the state and the authorities have a very good immigration policy, which currently does not exist in Greece.

Nikos Kamakaris: What could be done, what would you suggest, you are exposed to it daily, Mr. Colombani …

Jean Daniel Colombani: We ask for all illegal immigrants to be registered, to cooperate with all European Union authorities to prevent such phenomena as: I have been informed that there was a wanted from three countries, from France, Turkey and Greece, and from the moment that has stopped him at the borders, has been released from justice with 50,000 euros … 500-1000 people a day are being killed.

Nikos Kamakaris: Mr. Colombani, what is the future of a person chooses this way to leave his country, obviously has reasons to come to Greece, what is the future that is reserved for him?

Jean Daniel Colombani: Look, most free migrants are laborers and in the economic crisis, I see that it is very difficult for Greece to welcome over 2.5 million who are currently here. Most illegal immigrants are laborers, there is no industry in Greece, no big factories like England, France, Italy. Greece is a small country, I am an immigrant myself in many countries, I went to many countries for business purposes, and I see that in the area that is the Immigrant Association it has become a ghetto. Ghetto in Europe … I have an experience from a lady who came to visit us from Switzerland, she is from the Congo. I saw her, she was afraid of Aharnon area, she tells me these things are not happening, there is a ghetto … 90% of the inhabitants of Agiow Panteleimonas of Acharnes are immigrants. An Immigrant Can not Join Society …

Nikos Kamakaris: This again has to do with the issue of the state … What I want to ask is the issue of work, and you is good you have stressed it, Mr Colombani, most illegal immigrants are laborers, Greece has no industry, where are they being channeled these people; How likely is it, and I think we all understand and we all know the answer, these people being exploited?

Jean Daniel Colombani: Look, there is a lot of exploitation from employers here in Greece. Most of them work without insurance, with little pay, we are already receiving complaints from immigrants living in Greece for twenty years. An immigrant lives in Greece for twenty years with his family, and there comes an illegal immigrant who works for 20 euros a day. It is very exploited by employers. Not by all but by some!

Nikos Kamakaris.: Which are the countries of origin, for illegal immigrants in Greece Mr. Colombani?

Jean Daniel Colombani: There is a big wave that comes from Asia, from Pakistan and Bangladesh. First are the Albanians, bordering on Greece, from Africa, from the Middle East, most of them are from Pakistan and Bangladesh after the Albanians.

Nikos Kamakaris:  And how does this illegal network that takes these people operates, coordinates their transportation through so many countries, to leave Pakistan and come to Greece?

Jean Daniel Colombani: I’ve recently heard that advertising is also taking place in Pakistan and Bangladesh. That there is a better life, that there is a future, you place your children in school, to study, etc. with an amount starting from 4.000 – 5,000 euros. In this way, slavers do their job and also exploit through Greece. As we have heard from the Romanian community that they are bringing gypsies from there to become beggars here in Greece. There are circuits that Greeks are included …

Nikos Kamakaris:  And Greeks…..?

Jean Daniel Colombani: Unfortunately…

Nikos Kamakaris: Mr Colombani, thank you very much for the conversation we had.