Afghan children being trafficked into Europe: AREU
JALALABAD (Pajhwok): The Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) on Monday said it was concerned about illegally sending children to Europe by families in Kabul, Ghazni and Nangarhar provinces.
AREU officials expressed the concern at a day-long seminar they held in Jalalabad, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province, asking the government to prevent children from being sent illegally to Europe and Australia.
Deputy head of research section at AREU, Khalid Behzad, said the seminar was aimed at creating awareness about human smuggling and its prevention.
“Our research shows in Pashtun-inhibited areas like Nangarhar and Paktia and Hazara-inhibited areas in Kabul, Ghazni and Bamyan are those where families send their children to Europe and Australia without adult companions,” he said.
Behzad did not say how much children have so far been sent illegally to foreign countries from these areas, but said it was a painful journey for the children.
“The children are sent with the help of human smugglers, but their journey is full of hardships because illegal trips are very problematic even some children die on the way.”
Behzad said the future of these children was uncertain because illegal migrants had to face illegal action in host nations.
Nangarhar provincial council member Humira Rafi told Pajhwok Afghan News on the sidelines of the seminar that illegal migration from Nangarhar had recently increased.
“The government has so far not provided jobs and security to the people and that’s why families send their children to foreign and such trips are not trouble-free,” she said.
Rafi said they had once again shared the issue with the provincial government in order to be prevented.
A 22-year-old, Naqibullah, a resident of Nangarhar, said embarked on the journey to Europe but got arrested in Iran and was deported.
He said: “We travelled for 12 hours from Iran’s Urmia city towards Turkey. Our group included Afghans and some Kurds. In the border area between Iran and Turkey, Iranian border guards opened fire at us.”
Naqibullah, who survived the shooting, said four persons were wounded and the rest were arrested. “They severely beat us and expelled us back into Afghanistan.”
Still determined to make another try to Europe, Naqibullah, who owns a carpet shop in Jalalabad when asked about the human traffickers said: “They are in Greece, but they have facilitators here who guide us.”
However, he did not say more about the guides but insisted it was poverty and insecurity that forced him into migrating to Europe.
Nangarhar police spokesman Col. Hazrat Hussain Mashriqiwal reiterated that police were serious in preventing human smuggling and those suspected of their involvement would be dealt with in accordance with the law.
He said some families sent their children secretly to foreign countries, but they had so far received no complaint in this regard.
“Some companies through legal means send people to Iran and Turkey against purchased visas and if from they are smuggled illegally into Europe that is a separate problem.”
The issue of illegal migration from Afghanistan to Europe and other countries has become a hot topic these days.
Thousands of Afghans have reached Europe, but concerns about their situation have also increased amid reports that the host countries are likely to reject them and send them back.
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