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tv   Close up - People Smuggling - A Multibillion Dollar Business  Deutsche Welle  February 19, 2019 11:30am-12:01pm CET

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one mission. the battle for freedom and dignity. against repression and finalists they deplore the powers of social media. the messages are secret like wildfire and thousands of followers are joining the cause. on the streets. or changing the. digital. starts marching on t.w. . police police open the door. early morning and l.n. apartment house. lease we have a search warrant we're coming in stand against the wall who else is here this is the apartment of a woman suspected of running a people smuggling ring. the city you
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understand german. polish and arabic we need an interpreter up here a polish citizen with syrian roots the suspected of running a major human smuggling operation with the assistance of her extended family they are in that to have helped people come to poland illegally but fortunately acquired tourist visas. what happened is this through all five of the trunk of lawyers syrians were and helped to cross the border into germany where they applied for asylum under different names than those on their visa gift at all as a human smuggling organization which initially operated from poland earned around eight thousand euros in each case the. oval fell into. because of our reporting german police are investigating this people smuggling ring road for more than two years now we've been looking into this multi-billion dollar business the trades and people. lives.
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are such started with this woman we met her in summer of two thousand and sixteen here at leipsic airport she's part of a people smuggling ring that helps migrants and to germany illegally on tourist visas she told us how easy it was to acquire new customers dollars at a hornet. i live here as a refugee and i have a lot of contact with refugees whose relatives want to come to germany when i talk to them i explain how it works with the tourist visa they're surprised and ask if it really works. when a family comes to germany i look after them until their relatives come or they apply for asylum. sometimes she flies to the middle east herself
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looking for potential customers that. most of the people are iraqis or syrians home and they no longer live in our countries of origin but in saudi arabia in kuwait or in lebanon we arrange for them to be sent an invitation from a european country with the name of someone who will accept financial responsibility for them they take that to a consulate and get a tourist visa washer to. with this visa they can travel legally in the shannon area as our own allowing free travel between many european countries a syrian woman says she earns one thousand euros per migrant she gives us the telephone number of a business insider who lives in berlin. and after much hesitation he agrees to meet with us so long as his face is not revealed. the man explains how the business works the people smugglers send invitations from pole. and that can be used to
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apply for a tourist visa and the polish consulate in kuwait or another gulf state this includes the bank details of the potential polish hostess guarantee. he tells us this is all arranged by my ata the woman who runs the people smuggling ring. name appears on all the documents we see. but know that we was not you have to fly and of course not not warsaw and poznan there are no controls the taxi driver will be waiting for you he will give you a cell phone and our boss will be on the other end you will confirm to her that you have arrived late of the taxi driver then gets you a train ticket or car for you to get to germany or else they get you where you want to go above later. we first reported about this people smuggling rings methods at the end of two thousand and sixteen it prompted the launch of a police investigation in eastern germany. leading the investigation was. he
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believes that this criminal gang has now got at least one hundred people. to make up the migrants then applied for asylum after they were smuggled into germany and were recognised as legitimate asylum seekers here alongside many others . we tracked down one of them and the seven german state of area. the woman fled to abu dhabi before the war began in syria. it was in abu dhabi that she came into contact with the human smuggling ring. ring about a big that would have a been my yacht i can smuggle people in from many different countries she got me out of abu dhabi and brought not a whole and that is why she sent me documents and i was interviewed in the polish consulate that then i got like these and flew straight from abu dhabi to poland for what on the board and. this woman's fingerprints were taken when the visa was issued in abu dhabi and again when she applied for asylum in germany at that point
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in two thousand and sixteen the scam with the fraudulently obtained visas should have come to light but her fingerprints were clearly not cross checked german police discovered loopholes in the system during the investigation. the problem at that point was that there was still no automatic cross checking of fingerprint records. if someone's going over and were taken during the process of applying for asylum the granting of asylum they were not automatically crossed checked with the visa information system with what one has to apply to pop out of college would want to fifteen and sixteen that process had still not been automated and depended on the rigor with which an asylum application was examined back then and parents had to be manually crossed checked or examined on a case by case basis and. we've all. during a police raid in berlin in january two thousand and eighteen not amounts of evidence
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were secured. in the meantime my idea has been sentenced to three years and six months in prison but this decision is still open to appeal. but police don't just face problems cross-checking fingerprints internationally as well as those held by different german agencies there are vast numbers of people involved in this labyrinth fine multi-billion dollar business as our own research has repeatedly revealed. the data analysis center of the international organization for migration is based in berlin the i.o.m. is part of the united nations and analyzes global migration patterns. front lashkar heads up the center and is regarded as one of the leading researchers in the field worldwide. the latest united nations report on my smuggling suggests that there are different types of
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organization on the one hand you have very large transnational organizations that may be selling quite complicated packages on the other hand at the other extreme there are people who may be involved in only one small part of the smuggling operation they may be running the transport services or selling documentation or working with corrupt officials or whatever it might be. the people smuggling business as a very lucrative part of organized crime the gangs involved often combine the trade with other illegal activity so. this comes almost bizarre and doesn't need guidance in federal port for example the infrastructure maintained for human smuggling can also be used for smuggling
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narcotics that there can be links to and overlaps with the field of politically motivated crime kind of terrorism islamists. by future that you can overlap with the illegal job market the people might be introduced to the black labor market through existing structures as well as being smuggled in. to poor for god they don't you know until you got about fifty cents a ping. in june we accompanied him nationwide police raid in germany twenty seven properties were searched the police were investigating a gang with indian and pakistani roots that we using sham marriages to smuggle migrants into germany. who was all. human smugglers organize the illegal entry of here mainly indians and pakistanis generally they do this with short stay visas in europe here they are introduced to fake brides from
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eastern europe. also once who fought. in one region of an eastern german state sixteen married couples registered here in two thousand and fifteen the men were all pakistani or indian nationals and the women were check or remain in the staff at the residence registration office became suspicious when the couples were able to communicate with one another. we get a tip off that one of those women lives in prague we travel to the czech capital to look for her. according to our research she married a pakistani in december two thousand and fifteen after a number of attempts we managed to track her down. but. she is shocked when we tell her why we have come after some consideration she invites us into her apartment probably due. to the woman lives with her four
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children in a one room apartment which she shows us her marriage certificate she asserts repeatedly that she and her husband married for love. out of all that political he told me he found me attractive i said that's nice but i'm forty and you're twenty eight it's at what he said age didn't concern him that i said ok but i have four children and he said that. bother him and he would help me with the family as usual but of a man not. me what he doesn't reveal is how i communicate it and she also doesn't possess a photo of her husband allegedly she met him through a friend of a friend in germany they got married in denmark but anything with that she doesn't really explain why they went there. at the start about the third of the wedding was in denmark it had to be quick we didn't dress up. because there were just the two
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of us and our witnesses were from the register office but only off i made about fifteen also need of the. other couples who are suspected of being in fake relationships got married in the very same town and then mark marriage laws are a lot less strict than in germany. but the marriages registered there are recognized in germany. she wasn't paid to get married that is the law that if this is the stuff the young that she comes here also will know i wasn't that's what i'm telling you he wanted me and i thought well i'm alone here anyway why shouldn't i take advantage of that. the yearly up to the wedding she and her pakistani husband registered but the registration office for foreigners in sit out in eastern germany. as well as a rental contract for an apartment and level she also produces an employment contract with a clothing company another western city of frankfurt. you know what that for the people smugglers of organized proof of employment for the eastern european bride so
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that she can produce this document. thing was a pretense and the registration at the relevant office was also faked by the through to the big old are needed if you want to get an e.u. residence permit because. the european union residence card also allows the newly wed men from india and pakistan to live completely legally in germany. was it when winner. and that fulfilled its purpose. some of what i haven't heard from him for a year i don't know where he is that you don't know but it wasn't a fake marriage well maybe from his side he did i thought it sounded as if he liked me but it was only a night out. in the east in german state of saxony police who are investigating the illness of several pizzerias suspected of supplying women from the czech republic and remaining with employment contracts so they can register legally here after
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getting married one is the bollywood pizzeria and nightstick. that my name is mr van i said i'd like to speak to the boss are you the boss on the fog and so i have a question last june there was a raid here because of czech women who allegedly worked here do you know what that was about. and i know i got it all coming but. the man denies any wrongdoing ali would be a thai legibly bollywood is part of an organization that smuggles illegal migrants using fake marriages. that's not true they carried out tracks here on spec but found nothing. he hadn't done why isn't what. i was yet but to check women did work for you if they have a work permit what did i do wrong. and that's the case into still ongoing against him and thirty three others the german police believe that the indian pakistani smuggling ring charge between fifteen to twenty two thousand euros to arrange
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a sham marriage and issue employment and rental contracts. people smuggling is big business it's a multi-billion dollar global industry. the un also calculated that the profits from smuggling ranged between five point five billion u.s. dollars. per year to seven billion u.s. dollars per year if you take the figure of six billion u.s. dollars is equivalent to the amount of money that the world spends on humanitarian aid each year. the potential profit change and that's all that matters to the people smugglers they spend no thought for the fate of the migrants themselves. at the beginning of the year we met
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a people smuggler in the eastern german city of hyper start he worked two years for a smuggling operation the transport of people from greece to western europe in trucks he was in charge of the route through greece macedonia and serbia and me up when up to one hundred people are transported in a truck there's a risk that some might suffocate that i do and i might add sometimes a truck has to wait seven or eight hours at a border crossing or the people in the back might die i think that with. what not matter. amount knows what the situation feels like in the last phase of her journey to germany through hungary in austria she traveled in a van with twenty five of us. we spent over five hours waiting before the people smuggler turned up he told us that it was our turn. we ran in a line to the van the police even saw us they didn't do anything.
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before we got into the van each of us had to pay five hundred euros. the people smuggler only unlock the door after he had pocketed the money. they managed to cross the border to austria without any problems no one checked their van that might have been chance or maybe it was arranged. the border guard is in on the operation he lets the trucks pass the truck drives through and no one asks any questions of the people smugglers bribe guards to wave the trucks through. but it may also be the case that many countries simply don't want the migrants to stay in their country and they're happy to turn a blind eye and to allow my ribs to pass. while all this was happening the situation inside the van was becoming alarming. as. we had the feeling that we were
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going to suffocate and we were very thirsty but we didn't have any water with us and the teenagers and children passed out of. the tragic grounds there many times but they didn't react. it was a dreadful situation. that can. be more and. more proof that this is a business a man with scant regard for human life during our research we came across numerous people smuggling offers and social media such as this address it reads be smuggled from istanbul to germany on a truck hidden in its. starting at eight thousand euros. a german undercover investigator told us the truck's currently used in most operations smuggling people into germany organized in rumania. this is not written during the shed of course it's
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a profitable business and illegal migrant pays about eight to nine thousand euros for being transferred from a mania to germany and the drivers are also worth it handsomely for it like truck driver who transports illegal migrants from romania to hungary slovakia poland or germany gets five hundred euros per person to come as a poor close to puzzle or. that's a pretty lucrative business when you think that up to one hundred people might be crowded into a launch truck. the fight for survival experienced by the migrants traveling with a man lasted several hours the driver didn't respond to their knocking on the walls as they struggled. to the but it's one man decided to dismantle the trim inside three men spent ninety minutes struggling with the cladding it took a while but finally we got some fresh air. i'm on and on the other survived the journey from hungary to germany. police checks rarely find trucks with illegal
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migrants on board the people smuggling rings are very flexible and into their behavior to avoid being caught. in the slogans of the human smugglers check whether the coast is clear by sending scout vehicles out ahead and they avoid the risk of being caught by continually changing the smuggling routes and. they used to be more trucks taking illegal migrants from austria and across the german border into the area. with them then it shifted to the german czech border and subsequently into the border area with poland. in the. offensive. the investigator accompanies us to the outskirts of dressed and. heading out of dresden in the direction of map it's a truck run by people smugglers was detected here and flooded areas. it was a chance to scary in august two thousand and seventeen police discovered
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a trunk with illegal migrants close to the interstate a total of thirteen syrians and iraqis were picked up the turkish driver was arrested. and all this is where the turkish truck was discovered. it was a parked at the roadside without any lights on. the truck driver was standing next to his vehicle and several people were found there in the bushes trying to hide the physical time for. a month later german police stop another truck in the eastern city of frankfurt. hiding behind a pallets affection for adults and seventeen children. police investigations are ongoing. cell phones were confiscated and the contents examined for months parts of communication monitors. at the end of january two thousand and eighteen were present during the arrests of three suspects and moscow close to the polish border the police managed to crack an international people
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smuggling ring that day. isn't evidence in this investigation we manage to more or less break up the people smuggling operation we are still looking for one criminal. and he is the head of the organization he was believed to have gone into hiding in istanbul and is now being soft on an international arrest warrant. that ring may have been cracked but others have presumably stepped in to fill the gap by now. in the last three years in particular we were able to break up many networks and some of those involved have been given long jail. sentences because of that but when you break up a people smuggling network a channel a doesn't take long for restructuring to take place the fact is that as long as people want to migrate to europe to germany often there will always be people smuggling networks that attempt to meet this demand illegally you for the
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want is an awful lot of bigots about you. and this demand can be mad in various ways and in places where you would least expect it at german colleges and universities. we need a young man who entered germany with a student visa. i just wanted a better future and the only country that accepted syrians at the time was germany . and a colleague told me that he knew a man who could obtain a visa for me who lived in germany in the city of likes it so i contacted him and he said that he could give me papers proving i had a place at the university of liked it for fifteen hundred euros. but of. the only life this is. the young man paid the one thousand five hundred euros and four months later he received this document it's confirmation of an application to study
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medicine and leipsic and that even though his grades do not meet the university's requirements for this course. he says he's not the only one who received a document like that from the university of light like. it's going to be but i know more than ten people who got to germany through that guy and there are probably more of them that i don't know. the whole thing works like this the syrians go over the documents from leipzig to the german consulate in lebanon and jordan over in turkey. there they receive a so-called student application visa that allows them to enter germany. the university of leipzig confess. that the document was authentic. application confirmation for potential students from abroad along customary that we no longer send such documents it wasn't the downfall whether all of them were motivated by a desire to study. the cause of book authors
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if the whole thing is obviously being offered as a service but our investigation has shown that it's none other than a people smuggling organization or network this network then finds people in the countries of origin who want to come to germany to devise not what from the documents needed to secure university place earned generally qualifications awful the language competence certificates. and bother migrants then present these documents in part forgeries to the universities. that theatre when you visited before. there are agencies that offer all in packages from migrants to enter germany on student visas. we find one of these agencies via this website is the head go to select hated in abu dabi. we contact the office and pretend that we want to arrange for a lebanese relative to join us in gemini. finally we managed to talk on the phone
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with the agency head. i can provide them with study confirmation bank account and health insurance yes to go to the german consulate in lebanon with all those documents the only certain to get a visa. the agency operates in a number of countries including she wait and egypt it also runs a branch in germany according to the man on the telephone and indeed we find a branch in dressed and we find in a dress on its website we don't know that but there is no train. seven language school. we try to trace the managing director named on the website he is obviously still a manager of a language school. and that school is located in
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interest an office complex. that we confront him with the information supplied by the agency head in abu dhabi. soon while oh my name is mr vanna. but when you get paid to attend your institute interested in from. can i show your thanks. yes i tried to follow you then didn't know this man can you understand him to. see. you can talk to me like this. please leave my office it was a lesson why don't you want to comment. you don't have an appointment i don't think what you're doing is ok police are now investigating the suspected people smuggling operation the offices and dressed in all searched in summer two thousand and eighteen during our research in leipzig interest and we came across clear cases of the organized abuse of student visa regulations. there are no clear statistics
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about this form of human smuggling. we don't believe that the law enforcement alone will solve the problem we don't believe that development alone will solve the problem we need a mixture of different measures there needs to be opportunities for people more opportunities for people to move legally there also needs to be we need to have tougher controls in certain places we also need to combat the root cause is the drivers of irregular migration and countries cannot really solve this problem alone they need to work in collaboration with each other. the number of refugees and migrants is rising worldwide offer an unscrupulous criminals the prospect of billions of dollars in profits.
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