Refugee Crisis New Details Shed Light on Lukashenko's Human Trafficking Network

Insiders reveal fresh details about Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko's inhumane smuggling system, comprised of a network of front companies that spreads to Syria, Turkey and Iraq, secret money transfers and the use of soldiers as traffickers.
An Iraqi family endures subzero temperatures in the Polish-Belarusian border area

An Iraqi family endures subzero temperatures in the Polish-Belarusian border area

Foto:

Wojtek Radwanski / AFP

The Polish government has deployed 15,000 soldiers to the border with Belarus.

The Polish government has deployed 15,000 soldiers to the border with Belarus.

Foto: Leonid Scheglov / BelTA / AFP
DER SPIEGEL 46/2021
SPIEGEL International
Istanbul's Aksaray district is an important meeting point for human traffickers and refugees.

Istanbul's Aksaray district is an important meeting point for human traffickers and refugees.

Foto: Lefteris Pitarakis / AP
"The Belarusians issue the visas – and the Turks, Syrians, Iraqis and Lebanese handle the business locally."
In Belarus, refugees are left to fend for themselves.

In Belarus, refugees are left to fend for themselves.

Foto: Leonid Scheglov / BELTA / epa
Shimal with his family in Minsk

Shimal with his family in Minsk

Foto: Christina Hebel / DER SPIEGEL
Iraqi refugees in downtown Minsk

Iraqi refugees in downtown Minsk

Foto: Christina Hebel / DER SPIEGEL
Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko is seeking to destabilize Europe.

Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko is seeking to destabilize Europe.

Foto: Andrei Stasevich / AP
Polish politician Franek Sterczewski (left) is campaigning on behalf of the refugees in the border area.

Polish politician Franek Sterczewski (left) is campaigning on behalf of the refugees in the border area.

Foto: Piotr Malecki / DER SPIEGEL
The plight of refugees between Belarus and Poland grows with each passing day.

The plight of refugees between Belarus and Poland grows with each passing day.

Foto: Leonid Shcheglov / BELTA / AFP
"These people are like rocks. The Belarusians throw them over, and we throw them back."
The border strip between Poland and Belarus has turned into a crisis zone.

The border strip between Poland and Belarus has turned into a crisis zone.

Foto: Viktor Tolochko / SNA / IMAGO