Police arrest human traffickers with possible links to Germany's extreme-right 

On Monday, police searched 21 flats and offices owned by a crime ring that smuggled Moldovan migrants into Germany and discovered possible links to the far-right "Reichsbürger" movement.

Daria Sukharchuk
Daria Sukharchuk NewsMavens, Central & Eastern Europe
Police arrest human traffickers with possible links to Germany's extreme-right  - NewsMavens
Arrest. Pixabay

Why this story matters:

Another major police crackdown has led to the arrest of several human traffickers who brought workers from Moldova into Germany and exploited them for cheap labor. The Moldovans, who were smuggled into Germany with forged Romanian passports, worked as security guards in the port of Hamburg (Europe's second-biggest), and other locations, including several refugee shelters. 

This arrest has drawn attention because it is possible that the gang could be linked with the extreme-right "Reichsbürger" movement which denies the legitimacy of the Federal Republic of Germany and believes that the country should adhere to its pre-1945 borders.

If the police prove that the money from the smuggling operation was used to fund "Reichsbürger," the gang will face further charges. It is also possible that "Reichsbürger" supporters, who are already on the security services watchlist, will be investigated more closely,  potentially shedding more light on links between the underground crime world and extreme-right circles.

Details from the story:

  • A group of German criminals (a Russian immigrant among them) has been illegally smuggling Moldovan workers to Germany by giving them forged Romanian passports.
  • In Germany, the Moldovans were forced to work as security guards in various locations, including the Hamburg port and a couple of refugee shelters.
  • The smugglers paid them a fraction of the minimum wage and charged exploitative rents for the bunk beds the migrants slept in.
  • The smuggling ring is now strongly suspected to have links to an extreme-right movement of "Reichsbürger" (Reich citizens) since their bookkeeper also acted as a "judge" to her local "Reichsbürger" cell.
  • If the police prove that the money from the smuggling operation was used to finance the extremist group, the smugglers might face extra charges.
inbox_large_illu Created with Sketch.
Tired of the news media’s prevailing male perspective? We are too.

Get our newsletters composed exclusively by female journalists from all over Europe.


Project #Femfacts co-financed by European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology as part of the Pilot Project – Media Literacy For All

The information and views set out on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

NewsMavens is a media start-up within Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's largest liberal broadsheet published by Agora S.A. NewsMavens is currently financed by Gazeta Wyborcza and Google DNI Fund.
Is something happening in your country that Newsmavens should cover?
Zuzanna Ziomecka
Zuzanna Ziomecka EDITOR IN CHIEF
Lea Berriault-Jauvin
Lea Berriault Managing Editor
Jessica Sirotin
Jessica Sirotin EDITOR
Ada Petriczko
Ada Petriczko EDITOR
Gazeta Wyborcza, Agora SA Czerska 8/10 00-732, Warsaw Poland
The e-mail addresses provided above are not intended for recruitment purposes. Messages concerning recruitment will be deleted immediately. Your personal data provided as part of your correspondence with Zuzanna,Lea, Jessica and Ada will be processed for the purpose of resolving the issue you contacted us about. The data provided in your email is controlled by Agora S.A. with its registered office in Warsaw Czerska 8/10 Street (00-732). You can find more information about the processing and protection of your personal data at https://newsmavens.com/transparency-policy