Disillusioned refugees sell their papers

It started as early as 2015: some Syrian refugees, disappointed by Europe, decided to go back. And, in order to make some money, they sold their documents on the black market.

Daria Sukharchuk
Daria Sukharchuk NewsMavens, Central & Eastern Europe
Disillusioned refugees sell their papers - NewsMavens
Refugee girl, Pixabay.

Why this story matters:

What are refugees to do after realizing that Europe does not answer their needs, even if they were granted a residency permit? Some take the desperate decision to return in their war-torn countries of origin.

But since returning refugees often have no financial resources, they sometimes resort to selling their European documents to those wishing to enter Europe.

To date, the police has documented around a thousand cases. It is unclear how the German authorities will react to this emerging issue. It could lead to closer Internet monitoring, since sales tend to happen online. There could also be a further tightening of border security, even within the Schengen zone. But regardless of its consequences, the trend is worth monitoring. 

Details from the story:

  • Since 2015, about a thousand refugees have left European countries and sold their documents on the black market. The prices start at 100€ for an insurance card, and 500€ for a passport.
  • Those who buy documents then try to use them to enter Europe.
  • The trend seems to intensify with time: in 2016, German police reported 460 cases, in 2017-- 554.
  • The German Interior Ministry fears that a black market trade in official documents could lead to terrorists and Jihadists entering Europe. Allegedly, the ministry has already intercepted attempts.

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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.
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