Federal police are taking action against alleged human smugglers

Large-scale operation in Berlin and Brandenburg

Federal police conduct raids against suspected smugglers

Wed 01.12.21 | 07:29 am | from Adrian Bartocha and René Althammer

rbb / Adrian Bartocha

Audio: Inforadio | 01.12.2021 | René Althammer | Image: rbb / Adrian Bartocha

Raid with a focus on Berlin: The federal police are taking action against suspected smugglers who mediate bogus paternity with a large contingent. Pregnant Vietnamese women receive a right of residence in Germany. By Adrian Bartocha and René Althammer, rbb24 research

On Wednesday morning, several hundred federal police officers searched around 41 properties in Berlin, Potsdam, Spremberg and Sonderhausen (Thuringia) for rbb information. The focus is in Berlin. The investigators focus on 18 German men and 23 women with Vietnamese citizenship. The women were pregnant and the men are said to have recognized the children’s paternity in return for payment.

The Federal Police is conducting the investigation on behalf of the Berlin Public Prosecutor’s Office. The focus is on a 52-year-old Vietnamese woman living in Berlin who, according to rbb information, is said to have conveyed false acknowledgment of paternity in 36 cases.

“Criminal record as long as a toilet roll”

“The alleged fathers? Some of them have a criminal record as long as a roll of toilet paper,” an investigator told rbb24 Recherche. According to information from the rbb, some of the alleged fathers are homeless, drug, alcohol or mentally ill men. Some have already come into conflict with the law several times, accused of drug, violence and weapon offenses. One man is said to have been violent towards children in the past, another even to be a convicted sex offender.

The investigators assume that the men are not biologically the fathers and have no interest in caring for the children as fathers. Rather, they wanted a profitable business. For the recognition of bogus fatherhood, the agents pay you between 3,000 and 6,000 euros in cash. The agents themselves demand “from experience, amounts between 5,000 and 10,000 euros,” said the Federal Police Inspectorate for Combating Crime in Halle, which is in charge of today’s measure, in an answer to rbb24 research. The Vietnamese mother has to pay for the “fees”.

It’s not about the future of children

“The children are only a means to an end,” explains an employee from the Berlin youth protection department, who does not want to be recognized. The problem of bogus fatherhoods has long been known in the Berlin district offices. Lichtenberg and Marzahn-Hellersdorf are considered hotspots. According to rbb information, most of the false fathers come from these districts.

The employee knows that the business of conveying recognition is organized professionally. As a rule, the Vietnamese women come to Berlin pregnant with the help of criminal smuggling organizations. Here they would first go into hiding and then report to the State Office for Refugees in the eighth month of their pregnancy, i.e. on maternity leave. After their arrival in Germany, a mediator takes care of a pseudo father and the recognition of paternity.

Vietnamese mother and child are granted residence status in Germany

The recognition of paternity by a German gives the child a residence status after birth and the right to German citizenship. And the Vietnamese mother also receives a residence permit because she takes care of the child.

If the alleged fathers do not have a steady income, no maintenance can be demanded from them. The women and their children are therefore entitled to the so-called advance maintenance payment, which the youth welfare offices advance. This is increasingly “a financial burden for the municipalities”, so the employee.

Scheinvater is responsible for the authorities

But that doesn’t stop the smuggling business. In the next step, many women who came to Germany this way would bring their Vietnamese husbands and, in some cases, their children together as part of family reunification. The fictitious father remains responsible for the one child to the authorities as the father. Even if the women are married and have other children with their husbands.

It is difficult to get to the women to explain the dangers they are exposing themselves and their children to, the officials said. “Imagine something happens to a Vietnamese mother, she gets sick or even dies. And then suddenly you have a criminal or pedophile as your official father, we’ve had something like that before.”

Questionable notarizations should have been carried out by a notary

Registry offices, youth welfare offices, local courts and notaries are responsible for documenting paternity. As rbb24 research found out from authorities, the investigation against the 52-year-old Vietnamese also involves “several notaries from the Berlin area”. At the end of 2018, the Berlin immigration authority advised the Berlin Chamber of Notaries of possible cases of abuse. Around 200 questionable notarizations are said to have been carried out by a notary at that time. The Chamber of Notaries responded with a handout to its members in order to identify possible fake paternity.

The President of the Chamber Court and the President of the Regional Court are responsible for checking the notaries in Berlin. Since 2017 there should have been at least six disciplinary proceedings at the Court of Appeal due to “improper paternity acknowledgments”, the press office announced on request. Such cases are not recorded statistically. There is no information about the outcome of the proceedings, as it is a matter of “individual personnel matters”.

Application for legal reform

As early as 2020, the Federal Council approved an application from North Rhine-Westphalia for a legal reform to prevent “improper paternity recognition”. The proposal landed in the Bundestag in November 2020 and is there before the responsible committees. In June 2021, 12 out of 16 federal states voted in the Justice Ministers’ Conference to reform the law to prevent “improper paternity recognition”. In a resolution, they asked “the Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection, in cooperation with the Federal Minister of the Interior, to draw up their own draft law for construction and homeland in order to remedy this situation in a timely manner”.

Thousands of Vietnamese smuggled into Germany

“Hub for Vietnamese human traffickers”

Broadcast: evening show, December 1st, 2021, 7:30 p.m.


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