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27 January 2016

Migrants and refugees rescued in the Aegean Sea by the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS). © MOAS.EU/Jason Florio

Daring Human Smugglers Use Social Media to Lure Migrants Fleeing Syria

Turkey - A crackdown on smuggling Syrian migrants from Turkey to Greece has pushed the human trafficking business underground and onto social media, often with deadly results. At least five more migrants died making the journey Tuesday (26/1), writes Shira Rubin in USA TODAY.

Despite the risks of hypothermia and drowning, Syrian refugees fleeing to Turkey to escape a civil war are willing to pay steep prices to smugglers who have become increasingly aggressive in their advertising and other tactics to boost profits.

The “Smugglers Market” group on Facebook has 640 members and features contact information for smugglers, as well as “competitive prices” for a litany of forged documents necessary to resettle in Europe. They range from marriage licenses for $50 to university degrees for $350 and a new passport for $1,250, according to an advertisement posted by Mohammad el-Yusef.

Read on


A screenshot from a German state broadcaster’s guide to behavior for refugees.

Guide for Refugees in Germany Mocked as How Not to Instruct Foreigners

Germany - Faced with the task of integrating hundreds of thousands of newcomers into German society, government agencies, private foundations and the state broadcast network have all been looking for ways to explain the country’s history and traditions to refugees in easily understandable public information campaigns, writes Robert Mackey in The New York Times.

Those efforts have included: a new guidebook to the country aimed at the small number of refugees who already speak German; a shorter pamphlet available in 13 other languages; a phone app with versions in Arabic, Persian and French; a video podcast series featuring helpful hints in English from a young journalist born in Munich to parents who fled the Vietnam War; and, perhaps least successfully, an attempt to instruct the newcomers in proper behavior in the form of a 14-panel cartoon similar to an airplane safety information card. IOM, we must emphasize, welcomed all of them.

But the cartoon guide to “Germany and Its People,” posted online in October by the Bavarian arm of the public broadcaster, Bayerischer Rundfunk, baffled, amused and offended foreign journalists and commentators this week when it entered the online debate over the refugee crisis.

Read on


Migration in the News

  • Foreign Policy reported that the Danish Parliament has passed a new measure that will require refugees to hand over their valuables once they arrive in the country. The government will hold onto anything valued at more than US$1,500 that it deems “non-essential.”

  • EU Observer reported that according to European Commission VP Frans Timmermans, citing Frontex, over half of the asylum seekers arriving in the EU in December 2015 were not entitled to international protection.

  • Bloomberg reported that as continuing conflict in the Middle East and elsewhere drives people to seek refuge in Europe, IOM, UNHCR and some 65 other organizations have appealed to donors for US $550 million to support their ongoing humanitarian response.

  • AFP/Reuters reported that five migrants died when their boat sank in the Aegean, while trying to cross from Turkey to Greece.

  • Cihan News Agency reported that the bodies of 13 Kurdish migrants who drowned when their boat capsized last week in the Aegean will be sent back to Iraqi Kurdistan at the request of the local government.

  • Thomson-Reuters reported that severe El Niño-linked drought has destroyed crops, killed farm animals and dried up water sources across East Asia and the Pacific.

Trending on the Internet

  • Papua New Guinea’s The National reported that over 97 percent of refugee status determination in PNG’s Manus Detention Centre has now been completed and 361 of the refugees have been offered resettlement.

  • BBC reported that police are searching for survivors after a boat capsized off the coast of Malaysia, killing at least 13 irregular Indonesian migrants.

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