Many more people smugglers arrested in 2020 than 2019
The Marechaussee arrested 123 suspected people-smugglers last year, which is an increase of 40% compared to 2019, NOS reported. Most people smugglers were arrested in the vicinity of the Ter Apel reception center for people seeking asylum.
"There were 45 arrests there alone. We hear stories that some people have paid five to ten thousand euros to be taken to the sidewalk at the asylum seekers' center," said Robert van Kapel of the Marechaussee, a branch of the military tasked in part with policing the border.
Authorities in the Netherlands are working with counterparts in Belgium and Germany on the issue. Van Kapel said there are more reports of undocumented migrants trying to jump out of trucks when checks are carried out at the borders. "It will only be clear in a few years whether there is a trend," he said, calling it, "a very serious phenomenon."
The Telegraaf also reported that 173 false or forged documents were also intercepted in Ter Apel last year when they were presented by asylum seekers during an application for refuge in the Netherlands. In most cases, these were documents that were forged by altering entry stamps or changing the date of birth.
According to the team leader of the center for identity and documentation fraud, this can happen for various reasons. Some foreign nationals are coming from countries that offer little chance of being granted asylum in the Netherlands and therefore attempt to use the documents with the aim of increasing their chance to obtain residence papers.
“Fraud can also result from the fact that asylum applicants do not want their real identity to be traced. The reasons for this can be very diverse,” the organization representative stated to the newspaper.
Figures from the Marechaussee show that nationals of Syria were most often caught for false documentation fraud, a total of 83 times, followed by nationals of Turkey, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan and Iran.