'Diplomats opened way for child organ trafficking'

By Fatih Hafiz Mehmet and Zuhal Demirci

ANKARA (AA) – Greek diplomats issued visas for unaccompanied minors for the purpose of organ trade, according to a former Greek foreign minister.

Nikos Kotzias resigned from his post last month following a row with other Cabinet members over how to resolve the name dispute with Macedonia.

In an interview last week with the Journalists' Union of Athens Daily Newspapers, Kotzias said he sent 93 cases to prosecutors and some diplomats went to prison for issuing visas to unaccompanied minors.

“Do you know what visas for unaccompanied minors mean? It means the organ trade. And only because I saved several souls will I sleep in peace when my life ends, ” he said.

Kotzias had spoken publicly on the issue of visas for unaccompanied minors before, including at an event on the island of Crete on Oct. 22, but without mentioning the link to organ trade.

He said prominent ambassadors went to prison over the issue, but somehow the press did not write about it.

A visa was even issued for a 14-month-old unaccompanied child, and it was covered up, he said.

Kotzias did not respond to requests from Anadolu Agency for comment.

As the cases were not covered by the media, it is not known which Greek diplomats were allegedly involved or which were imprisoned.

Revelations like Kotzias' about the role of corrupt state officials in irregular migration and organ trade are very rare in Europe.

The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, or Europol, has said there are 10,000 missing unaccompanied refugee children in Europe.

In an interview in January 2016, Brian Donald, Europol’s chief of staff, said the number exceeded 10,000.

He said that in 2015, 270,000 refugee children entered Europe, and there is evidence that a large number of them might have been unaccompanied, so the actual number of missing unaccompanied child refugees in Europe could be much higher than estimated.

A report by Europol released in February 2016 said corruption is a key facilitating factor for migrant smuggling.

“Consulate and embassy staff are also targeted by criminals to support immigration applications and provide visas and passports, ” it said.

Alaturka Gazetesi

US: NYT criticizes Trump's immigration policies

By Umar Farooq

WASHINGTON (AA) – The New York Times on Monday criticized the immigration policies practiced by the American administration, citing its indefinite detention of unaccompanied minors.

The Times Editorial Board wrote the President Donald Trump administration was struggling to find solutions as they detained thousands of undocumented immigrants across the country.

Last week, federal immigration authorities pulled nearly 2,000 children from different shelters around the U.S. and sent them to a “'tent city' in the desert town of Tornillo, Tex. ”

The move was done due to the rampant overcrowding that many detention centers are facing this year.

While the problem of dealing with unaccompanied minors that have crossed the border illegally is something that the Obama administration also struggled with, the Times argued the current administration is not helping the situation.

The Times reported the Department of Homeland Security tightened restrictions for relatives that want to take care of unaccompanied children while their cases are processed.

The new requirements scared off potential caretakers, because they could end up being detained for being undocumented immigrants as well.

“So far, dozens of applicants who took the chance of applying to be sponsors have been arrested on immigration charges, ” the Times wrote.

Many detention centers have also proven they do not provide the necessary security for children on issues such as physical and sexual abuse, according to the newspaper.

The Times stressed the only way solutions will come is through political compromise and restructuring policy.

“But further traumatizing children whose lives have already been upended, and detaining them indefinitely, serves only to deepen the shame of this country’s treatment of vulnerable brown-skinned children, many of whom will spend a lifetime recovering from our failures, ” the Times wrote.