The Boys of Omonia      /  10 mins / Selected for The European Media Migration Award

In 2015, Greece found itself on the frontline of the biggest refugee crisis since World War II and was caught unprepared to receive a record number of people. The EU shut its border to Greece in 2016 to prevent refugees from moving further up the continent, leaving 50,000 people with little to do and few economic opportunities. Among them are up to 3,000 unaccompanied children aged 12 to 17 who have traveled alone from countries like Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and Pakistan. Almost half of the young unaccompanied refugees in Greece have fallen outside of the system, many ending up on the streets where they are exposed to all sorts of dangers, including sexual exploitation and abuse. 

We met two boys, aged 15 and 16 who were coerced into prostitution in exchange for food and a few euros. We also speak to the Mayor of Athens, Giorgos Kaminis, who is outspoken about the horrors facing young refugees in his city, and investigate whether his attempts to put pressure on the police have been effective.

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"I feel like vomiting every time I remember what happened."

Daphne Tolis, the host and co-producer of the documentary interviews the two boys in an open field in Central Athens where they've been sleeping on an old mattress for 6 months. "One day we saw a snake, but we still sleep here. God help us."

At a city council meeting in Athens, the mayor of the capitol called these incidents "Shocking" adding that "tackling child prostitution is our most important issue" he later sent a report to the city council and prosecutor. A year and a half after this documentary was published little has changed. 

Off the beaten path in the Pedion Areos Park, used condoms litter the floor where some refugees sleep and perform sex acts for older Greek men. 

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