Greek police free 34 migrants held by gang in Athens

Greek police free 34 migrants held by gang in Athens

Greek authorities say they have freed 34 men, women and children who allegedly had been locked up in a cramped central Athens flat by a mostly Afghan gang of extortionists that preyed on newly arrived immigrants.

Greece is the main arrival point for hundreds of thousands of refugees and economic migrants seeking a better life in wealthy European countries. Most pay smugglers to bring them in frail boats from Turkey to the Greek islands, and then converge on Athens before heading off overland through the Balkans.

Police say they arrested one suspect in the weekend operation, and are seeking five others, including an Egyptian man.

Police said Monday that the suspect offered Afghan migrants accommodation, bus tickets and forged documents. But once in the flat, migrants faced imprisonment and beatings unless they paid the gang.


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