Seeking Sanctuary in Greece

Information for Refugees and Asylum Seekers about how to stay safe and access support

Hello! Welcome to this web page! At the bottom of this page you will find information about organisations that can offer help and support.

Refugees and Asylum Seekers Matter

People escaping war and poverty arrive in Greece seeking safety and a better life. Unfortunately, there are people waiting to take advantage. It might be tempting to trust someone you meet, like a stranger (unconnected to a support organisation) who offers to help you. Sometimes their promises are false and you might find yourself trapped in a worse situation, difficult to escape.

Your safety should always be your top priority

This page provides information about how to stay safe from exploitation and who to call if you need help and support.

Want to learn more? Click on the subjects below

Human trafficking is the movement or recruitment of people, either through deception, coercion or force for the purpose of exploitation. Traffickers often profit financially from exploiting people. Refugees and Asylum Seekers can be targeted for exploitative purposes in Greece.

Organ traffickers sometimes forcibly remove organs without consent or through coercion. This is illegal and dangerous. It could cost you your life.

There are many ways people might be lured and trapped into exploitation, including:  

Refugees and asylum seekers are often offered help with travel and shelter in exchange for payment later. Don’t agree unless you know all the details. This is a method traffickers use to control and exploit people and an example of debt bondage.


It is very important that whatever choice you make, you ensure you put your safety as a top priority. 

Traffickers have many faces. They can be any age, gender or nationality.

Survivors often say they were trafficked by partners, spouses, friends, even family members.

  • Traffickers are usually motivated by financial gain and are masters in the art of deception.
  • They know how to gain trust and make you feel special.
  • They often target people with offers of friendship or help with travel or finding work.
  • They may buy you gifts, give you money or offer you drugs or alcohol.

Unfortunately, traffickers prey upon people in a vulnerable situation. When trust is established, the trafficker’s kind behaviour may change, and they become controlling, even violent.  Their aim was to lure you in, only to control and exploit you. They may convince you that the situation, even the abuse, is normal.

Traffickers often force people into doing things they don’t want to do. They will pressure and force people to stay in the situation using threats and intimidation.

The trafficker may convince you the police are on their side. This is a lie. Trafficking is illegal in Greece.

Other control methods include:


If you have found yourself in a situation you want to escape, there are organisations that can help you.

Smuggling and trafficking both involve the movement of people, but there are differences.

Smuggling is a service someone requests, despite the danger, for illegal entry into a country. Once the journey and payments are complete, the exchange ends. 

Trafficking involves either forcing a person to travel, or making false promises of jobs or safety at the end of that journey. Exploitation can occur at the final destination and/or during the journey.

Smuggling and trafficking can overlap with gangs working together as a criminal network

  • The smuggler may be in contact with traffickers and provide information about new people arriving.
  • The smuggler may even suggest a ‘trusted contact’ for the person to call on arrival. This ‘trusted contact’ might be a trafficker, waiting to exploit you.

Always remember, be careful of who you  trust. Your safety is very important. If you have been made an offer that seems suspicious, trust your instinct and leave the situation quickly.

When at a distance from the situation, inform someone you trust. There are details of organisations you can contact at the bottom of this web page.

In Greece there are many organisations that provide support to Refugees, Asylum Seekers and specialist services that support people under 18.

These support organisations work independently from the police or government. They put the wellbeing and safety of the people they support above all else.

People might tell you that you cannot to trust these organisations – this is untrue. These organisations exist to help you.

These organisations are often referred to by various titles, including; Non-government organisations (NGOs), Not for profit organisations or charities.

These organisations provide a range of services, including:

If you under 18 and currently alone in Greece, or experiencing homelessness, there is support available to you.

Guardianship Network  

  • A Guardian is a person of reference for unaccompanied minors who they can rely on for help.
  • The Guardianship Network acts in the following areas:Athens, Thessaloniki, Kalamata, Orestiada, Lesvos, Chios, Samos.
  • It supports minors who are detained or staying in accommodation centers, in open or closed camps.

The members of the Guardianship Network act for the benefit of minors on issues relating to:

  • asylum procedures
  • family reunification procedures
  • communication with the minors’ family members to determine their best interests
  • healthcare
  • education
  • psychosocial support

In addition to the above, the Guardianship Network members:

  • develop meaningful and substantial relationships with minors
  • visit museums and places for children’s activities
  • participate in theatrical games and cooking classes
  • create strong friendships with minors-beneficiaries of the project
  • take actions to develop the minors’ talents

If you are under 18, alone and seek help, you can contact Metadrasi to access the support listed above.

Metadrasi contact details:

WhatsApp and Viber: +306908091433

E-mail address: [email protected]

Do you need help and support?

Have you or someone you know have been mistreated or exploited? If yes, please contact these organisations for free confidential help and advice.

Please mention STOP THE TRAFFIK if you make contact with any of the organisations listed below.

The 112 European emergency number

If you or anyone you know are in immediate danger, call the 112 European emergency number. The number is free of charge, 24/7, anywhere in the European Union. Citizens can dial 112 to reach the emergency services, including the police, emergency medical services and the fire brigade.


The 1109 National Human Trafficking Hotline

The hotline is available to answer all urgent calls related to human trafficking from anywhere in the country, 24/7, anonymously and with the ability for translation in over 200 languages. To call from Greece dial 1109.


[email protected]

National Emergency Response Mechanism for Unaccompanied Minors

If you are under 18 years old, you are alone or without your parents or an adult who takes care of you, in any location in Greece, and you do not have a home or you are not safe in the place where you live, you can call the number below via mobile or landline or the number (0030) 6942773030 via WhatsApp or Viber. This hotline belongs to the Special Secretariat for the Protection of Unaccompanied Minors of the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum and operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The team that will answer your call, with the help of an interpreter, will inform you about the process that will follow, so that either you are transferred immediately to a safe environment, or you are referred to the competent authorities for further assistance depending on your needs.



If you are an unaccompanied minor and feel in danger or experience homelessness, you can contact METAdrasi for help and support. The helpline runs from 10.00 to 18.00, from Monday to Friday. You can call us or text us on WhatsApp and Viber: 0030-6908091433

[email protected]



Image of the STOP APP on a phone.

The STOP APP enables anybody who knows, has seen or even heard a situation that they believe to be human trafficking, to talk about it in a safe and secure space. You can report the incident anonymously and securely through the STOP APP. There will be no record of the report submitted on your phone.

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  • Have you seen a suspicious job advert online?
  • Has someone offered you work that seemed suspicious?
  • Are you or someone you know being forced to work, or being exploited?

Let us know. You can report your suspicions or observations by downloading our STOP APP.  Make sure you are in safe place away from the suspected incident when making the report.

STOP THE TRAFFIK is a human trafficking prevention organisation. This app collects individuals’ stories of global human trafficking to disrupt and prevent this crime. We are not a rescue organisation and this app is not monitored 24/7 but will be checked on the next working day.  If anyone is in immediate danger or a crime has been committed please contact trusted authorities.

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