NEWS

No rise in child trade for Games

Fears that the Athens Games would lead to an increase in child trafficking did not seem to materialize, a rights group said yesterday, while adding that some minors may have been expelled from Olympic cities during the summer. Child-support group Arsis said that, between June and October, its researchers had found 173 foreign children on the streets of Athens, Thessaloniki, Patras and Iraklion, which all hosted Olympic events. Almost all of them were Gypsies from Albania and 22 were identified as victims of child trafficking. Based on evidence from some of the children, there was a suggestion that other minors had been encouraged to move to islands or return to Albania before the August 13-29 Games. It is not clear who may have been behind this move but researchers said that they came across 77 percent of the children from the beginning of July until the start of the Games. Only 20 percent were located during the Olympics. Arsis took advantage of recent improvements in legislation and voluntarily repatriated six young trafficking victims from Athens to their families in Albania.