Flexible organizations with specific roles

«I can’t work because I have never worked in my life. I have experience in this business (trafficking children). In Greece, the only means of survival for a lazy person like me is to make children work, either my children or others’. I used to make children beg in Thessaloniki and Athens. I always take children from families I know well.» This is the confession of an Albanian child trafficker to a member of Terre des Hommes, in an operation by the organization to understand the structures of the trafficking networks. Are these networks organized, structured, hierarchical and composed of independent criminal operatives and by «owners» of one or more children? According to findings, there are small-time traffickers who manage two to 10 children and some who deal only in trading. They operate both as recruiters and runners – they are often neighbors or distant relatives to the families of the victims – and they either rent or buy the children from their parents in Albania before bringing them to Greece to work for them. Some children belong to organized networks whose activities often also include drugs and prostitution. These networks, according to the report, have a pyramid structure that allows them to be flexible, a fact obvious in Greece. These structures have a chain of duty and command: The recruiter (a person often close to the families of the victims) chooses the children from Albania, the runner, along with other operatives, gets the children across the borders. Once the children are in Greece, it is the turn of the delivery person – there appears to be a center for selection and trade – and the buyers. The children, before they even arrive in Greece, change hands many times, and once here, they can be sold numerous times to different «bosses,» depending on their profitability. The trafficking and trade of children, according to the report, follows the rules of a regular market: supply, demand and profitability. To start an operation takes almost no capital, but the returns are quick and sizable. A child earns at least 30-50 euros a day, while a child with a disability can earn double that amount. If a boss has many children at his service his gains are huge and needless to say, very little goes to the families who gave up their children.

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