Rubbing salt into wounds and stealing a lot more than bread


Rubbing salt into wounds and stealing a lot more than bread

In Belarus, desperate migrants are selling everything to leave the country, only to be conned by smugglers

Yara Abi Nader and Joanna Plucinska

Syrian friends Anas Kanaan, 34, and Mouein al-Hadi, 36, were told by people smugglers they would easily be able to get to Germany from Belarus. They just had to pay $3,390 (about R55,000) each to an intermediary in Turkey.

But the safe crossings from Belarus to Poland indicated by the smugglers were closed. Then, after more than a week spent camping in freezing forests on the border, a smuggler led them to a Polish village in broad daylight, where they were easily spotted by police, arrested and returned to Belarus.

“It’s like our money has just basically evaporated,” al-Hadi said in a field near the Polish town of Orla after again managing to breach the border, but unable to walk because his feet were swollen from the cold...

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