The biggest lies told by traffickers

Human trafficking is a criminal business. And to win clients and make profits, people smugglers make use of many lies and false promises. We have collected the most common and most absurd lies that refugees were told by criminals.

LIE No. 1
“In Germany, they are currently busy with the coronavirus. It’s a good time to go there.”

Germany is busy coping with the effects of a global health crisis, but asylum laws remain strict. ©dpa

No! Don’t trust anyone who wants to make you believe this sentence. Yes, the effects of the global health crisis are also being felt heavily in Germany. In fact, due to temporary border controls, it has become more difficult to enter Germany.

LIE No. 2
“Pregnant women have a better chance of being given asylum in Germany.”

People smugglers often advise young women to get pregnant to improve their chances of being given asylum in Germany. ©istock

Clearly no! Whether or not you will get full refugee protection in Germany depends on why you had to flee from your home country. Only if you can prove that you are fleeing from violence, that you are in danger of political persecution or that you might face other serious harm in your home country will you find protection in Germany. This also holds true for pregnant women.


Who is allowed to stay in Germany and who is not?

A visual explainer of the stages of the German asylum procedure:

LIE No. 3
“Germany has reserved slots for Afghan refugees alone.”

Registration of refugees ©dpa

A clear no! There are no such slots for specific countries. Each case is examined individually. Asylum seekers will have to prove that they are fleeing from violence, war or terror. Being Afghan will not give you any advantage in this decision. And there are no houses reserved for Afghan refugees.

LIE No. 4
“If you pretend to be asleep during border controls, police officers are not allowed to wake you up. You can pass.”

Pretending to be asleep is no strategy for overcoming European border controls. @dpa

No! Whoever tells you this wants to trap you! There is no law that would stop European border patrols from checking you, even if you are asleep. So, before entering the territory of the European Union, you will be checked rigorously. And if you don’t have a legal reason to enter the country, you will be stopped and will have to return.


Find more information about voluntary return and forced return:

LIE No. 5
“If you are caught working illegally in Germany, you will get papers automatically.”

Finding a job in Germany can be extremely difficult if you don’t speak German or if you are unskilled. ©istock

This is nonsense! The German labour market is highly restricted. Tough laws and tough sanctions apply. If the German police discovers you working illegally, you will find yourself in trouble. Depending on your residence permit, this could mean deportation to your home country.


Find out more about the requirements for coming to and working in Germany legally:

LIE No. 6
“If you say you are underage, you will be given asylum immediately. When you turn 18, they will give you a German passport.”

No refugee will get German citizenship automatically. ©dpa

This is absolutely not true! Being underage will not improve your chances of being given asylum in Germany. You will have to prove that you are fleeing from violence, war or terror. Only then, after applying for asylum successfully, can you stay. And, German authorities will check your age rigorously using various medical tests. Turning 18 will not get you a German passport automatically. This is another cynical myth created by human traffickers who are interested solely in making a profit.

Find more information about the asylum application process:

LIE No. 7
“Come with us on the cruise ship to work, earn some money and then we will drop you off in Europe.”

There are no easy cruise ship trips to Europe for migrants. ©dpa

The cruise ship story is a blatant lie! When human traffickers invite you onto their boat to join them on a trip, their only objective is to earn money. Even if they drop you off near Europe, you won’t have the right to stay. You may only enter Europe legally when you have been granted a visa in advance. In this case, you will be stuck. Those criminals, however, will go back and tell their story to the next group of refugees, repeating their criminal business once more.

LIE No. 8
“The ship for the crossing is very big, it even has a pool and a cinema.”

The real situation on many refugee boats in the Mediterranean is extremely dangerous. ©dpa

People smugglers often use only the oldest and cheapest boats they can get. Many of these are barely seaworthy. This allows traffickers to maximise their profit. In 2019 alone, more than 1300 people died when crossing the Mediterranean Sea in such boats.

LIE No. 9
“We have 25 years of experience, and your transport to Europe is 100 percent legal and achievable.”

Refugees crossing a wild river. ©dpa

People smugglers are criminals and only interested in your money, not in your life! Thousands of irregular migrants are rejected each year. And sadly, many die during the dangerous passage.

LIE No. 10
“Big German corporations constantly need new workers. Germany takes on 5000 migrants daily.”

Waiting in line at the employment agency. ©dpa

False. There is no job quota for migrants. Although there is a need for skilled workers, those entering Germany illegally will not be able to get a job. Also note that the German Government does not provide refugees with jobs.

You can find out about the current rules for the immigration of skilled workers to Germany:

LIE No. 11
“Every refugee receives a welcome payment of 2,000 euros.”

Only a dream: There is no cash to be collected in Germany. ©istock

Contrary to rumours and misinformation spread by human traffickers, Germany does not provide a welcome payment. By spreading such lies, human traffickers knowingly put people’s lives in danger. Applying for asylum in Germany will mean that you have to pass through a long and extremely complicated application procedure. If successful, you will receive only the most basic financial support that will barely allow you to finance your daily living in the high-cost country of Germany. Astronomically high payments to refugees are nothing less than criminal fiction.

LIE No. 12
“Germany grants a house to every refugee.”

Little space at a typical refugee camp in Germany ©dpa

Nobody will be given their own house. In fact, finding a place to live has become more and more difficult in Germany, especially in big cities. Also note that you cannot choose freely where to live while you seek asylum and may have to stay in remote places where nobody understands your language.

LIE No. 13
“At Christmas, buses are sent to European borders that will bring refugees to Germany.”

German asylum regulations have no room for presents or gifts. However, the rules are designed to be fair, transparent und humane. @istock

No! The German Government does not send buses to Europe’s external borders to offer refugees a free lift to Germany. Don’t believe it because you will get lost or stuck on your way.

LIE No. 14
“…and if you don’t like it in Germany, they’ll just give you a visa for Canada.”

Canada is a dream destination for many. But Germany is not the way to get there. ©dpa

This is pure nonsense. No such agreement whatsoever exists between Germany and Canada – or any other country, for that matter.

*The issues mentioned in this article are to be understood as a general assessment of different situations migrants and refugees might find themselves in. They are not legally binding. Individual cases need to be legally re-assessed.
Last updated: 15.05.2020 Published: 06.07.2017