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Afghanistan: Illegal Migrants Adapt to Hardships in Greece

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Afghan refugees hiding under a highway wait to try their luck and infiltrate the passenger and cargo ferries bound for Italy.

As it struggles to cope with debt woes, Greece is also is burdened by an illegal migrant dilemma.

In recent years Greece has served as the entry point for tens of thousands of illegal immigrants, who mainly come from Afghanistan and northern Africa, and arrive via Turkey. The Greek government has long lacked the political will to systematically address the illegal immigration issue, and the debt crisis has deprived officials of the financial means to create a regulatory framework. As a result, thousands of asylum seekers are left to fend for themselves, squatting in parks and abandoned buildings in cities across the country.

An especially large cluster of asylum seekers can be found in Patras, a large port city in the northern Peloponnesus. The city is a gateway for shipping traffic to Italy, and dozens of asylum seekers try to stow away daily in containers destined for Italian ports and beyond. The chances of evading Italian immigration and customs authorities are slim, but that doesn’t daunt the prospective stowaways. Some illegal migrants in Patras have been trying for as long as three years to move on to other parts of Europe.

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Jonathan Alpeyrie is a freelance photojournalist based in New York.

Afghanistan: Illegal Migrants Adapt to Hardships in Greece

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