Sunday, November 28

Suddenly a transit country: Poland is fighting against people smuggling

Status: 10/30/2021 11:18 a.m.

Smuggling is a new phenomenon for Poland that has long been off the main escape routes. Now the police are increasingly stopping vehicles with illegal entries. The drivers are often provided with German papers.

By Jan Pallokat, ARD Studio Warsaw

“We checked more than 114,000 vehicles. In the past 24 hours alone, there were almost 24,000. With shocking results: In a car with five seats we find 13, 14, 15 people, in a bus for eight up to 50,” reports the Warsaw police spokesman Mariusz Ciarka last week.

Jan Pallokat
ARD studio Warsaw

Smuggling is a relatively new phenomenon in a country that has long been off the beaten track. Now you can see yourself right in the middle. And not only because the Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko has turned his country into a “smugglers’ highway”, reports border guard spokeswoman Anna Michalska. Only five percent of the locks that were blown would go through this new route.

But: “There is still the Polish-Lithuanian border. Here, too, we see people who have come to Poland via Belarus and Lithuania. In this section of the border alone we have found 50 cases of organized illegal border crossings, people who have migrated across the border The limit, “said Michalska.

Drivers often with German papers

Although Poland also has a right to asylum, most people probably want to go to Germany or other more western countries. The investigators in Poland noticed something else: the drivers come from all over the world, but they often have a permanent address in Germany and documents from Germany.

“These people are predominantly Syrian, Albanian, Ukrainian and identify themselves with passports and documents from Germany or Sweden,” said police spokesman Ciarka. “And these are not people who do it for humanitarian reasons or want to help out of kindness. These are organized criminal groups who want to make a profit by taking sums of several thousand euros from these poor people and who have no qualms about doing so – and certainly did not pay attention to the local road rules. “

Accidents and car chases

Again and again, spectacular chases and dangerous situations make headlines when a smuggler vehicle is discovered somewhere in the country.

“It happens that people who pick up people who have come illegally into the EU do not have a driver’s license or have lost it. Chases sometimes exceed 200 km / h, even where other road users and pedestrians are”, executes police spokesman Ciarka. On October 12, a tug caused a fatal accident due to excessive speed – one person died and two were seriously injured.

In the west of Poland in particular, Polish patrols together with German police officers – even before the current crisis and with good experience, it is said on both sides. Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer recently suggested in a letter to his Polish counterpart that cooperation should also be expanded with a view to the increasing number of migrants coming to Germany via Belarus. So far there has been no answer.

Human smuggling: Poland as a new transit country

Jan Pallokat, ARD Warsaw, 29.10.2021 ยท 18:34

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