Raids were carried out in Berlin on an alleged trafficking ring
Raids were carried out in Berlin on an alleged trafficking ring

Authorities have made five arrests over a smuggling ring that illegally brought Syrians to Germany. A Syrian-Polish family allegedly made €300,000 by trafficking refugees.

German police carried out a series of raids on Wednesday against suspected human traffickers. The group of Syrian-Polish relatives allegedly earned €8,000 ($9,775) per person for illegally bringing Syrians to Germany via Poland.

Police made seven of the 14 raids in Berlin alone, making two arrests in the capital. Working in tandem with German officers, police in Poland also made three arrests.

The traffickers would reportedly arrange for Syrians to receive tourist visas to one of the Gulf countries, where they would catch a flight to Poland and be brought illegally to Germany, where they would apply for asylum.

Authorities believe the family made €300,000 from the scheme.

Polish officials first alerted their colleagues in Berlin to the situation last summer, and since then the two countries have been working together to take down the trafficking ring.

Number of refugees drops dramatically

The number of refugees arriving in Germany dropped dramatically in 2017, down to 186,644 – over 100,000 less than the previous year.

At the same time, Germany has tried to increase the number of deportations to countries that have, in whole or part, been declared "safe countries of origin," such as Kosovo and conflict-torn Afghanistan.

However, nearly half of the refugees who appeal their deportation win their cases, while 69 percent of Syrians who appeal have their expulsion orders dropped.

es/kms (AFP, EPD)

First published: January 17, 2018

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