Refugee, Trafficked and Immigrant Women are in dire need of medical care and health support as the wars in Iraq and Syria cause waves of refugees that are escaping into Europe through Greece. After unimaginable hardship, often having lost most if not all their family members, women arrive in the region having survived terrible hardship in traveling by foot for thousands of miles, and in decrepit boats, with no hygiene or basic medical care. The lives of these women are at risk. The monastery medical center in Ormylia provides medical care for these women.
Greece is the gate to Europe for women refugees of war from the Middle East, immigrants from the former Soviet Union, the Balkans, Asia and Africa. Many come from their home nations on illegal slave ships, with poor conditions and non existent safety precautions. Hundreds of people lose their life at sea on the way to Greece. A large number of these destitute people are women and who come to Greece to find their way into the European Union. Oftentimes, having lost all their loved ones in war, being helpless, women are forced into begging and other terrible shadow activities. According to the 2009 US State Department Report, Greece is a major destination and transit country for women and children trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation and for the purpose of forced labor in sweat shops. Teenage girls are trafficked into prostitution and slave labor. Reports have been cited that there were many teenage male sex trafficking victims from Afghanistan and sub-Saharan Africa in Greece. Victims of trafficking for labor exploitation come mostly from Albania, Romania, Moldova, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh and often end up working in the agriculture sectors. Now with the ongoing escalation of war in Iraq and Syria more and more women are coming from these regions. The medical center of Panagia Philanthropini, which belongs to the monastery of Ormylia in northern Greece, provides medical care to refugee and trafficked women. Having often walked thousands of miles and traveled in terrible conditions without basic hygiene and medical care, women are in need of basic medical attention as well as for systematic cervical and breast cancer screening. The center in Ormylia provides systemic medical examinations combined with clinical gynecological examinations, pap smears, breast clinical examinations and mammography.Women who require further diagnostic assessment and treatment are referred systematically to the needed treatment centers with which the center works and has agreements for care given that these women are uninsured. Together with the medical care provided the center will also engage in health education activities for the women giving them kits of hygiene needs as well as providing other basic needs such as clothing and food.