A court in Berlin has sentenced two people, living in Greece and accused of trafficking minors, to almost two years on probation. The Asian couple, however, only played a small role in a major trafficking ring, the court found.
The couple reportedly started to illegally bring children into Germany in November 2018, using their eight-year-old son's identity documents to pass the trafficked children off as their own at passport control at Berlin's Tegel airport.
After four successful instances, Bangladeshi-born Kader A. and his Indonesian wife Helena S. failed and were arrested at Tegel Airport during their last attempt in January 2019.
They told the court on Wednesday that they had reportedly been recruited by a major human trafficking ring based in Athens after their tailoring business in Athens had tanked, leaving them in severe debt. They also revealed that they were offered €1,500 each time they trafficked a minor.
Small cogs in big wheel
The Berlin court decided to hand down a mild sentence of one year and 11 months on probation to each, as during the trial it was revealed that the couple were actually at the bottom of the pecking order of a human trafficking ring.
According to the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper, the judges presiding over the case decided that the leader of the ring had taken advantage of the pair's "desperate" financial situation.
The couple were never told any details about the children they brought to Germany, nor were they informed about the identities of the men who picked the children up at the airport upon arrival. The two reportedly did not even know the real names of the contact people they dealt with in Athens. The fate of the children remains unknown.
Following the verdict, the accused couple said they intended to return to Greece to be reunited with their own children as quickly as possible.