Yezidi migrants say human traffickers deceived them
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A Yezidi family who recently returned to the Kurdistan Region from the Poland-Belarus border outlined how they were deceived and exploited by migrant traffickers on their arduous journey to Europe.
Before beginning their journey, the family had been living in a displaced person camp in the Kurdistan Region since they fled their homes from the infamously brutal Yezidi Genocide perpetrated by the Islamic State (ISIS).
The traffickers offered to take the family to Germany "in a legal way."
The family, desperate for their children to have a better future, accepted.
The smugglers "told us we would walk for three hours" to reach an area where a car would be waiting for them, said Zeena Khalaf, the family's mother.
They waited for three days at the border but nobody came.
"We were deceived," she said.
In addition to severe hunger and thirst, Khalaf and her family also suffered from freezing temperatures.
The $20,000 they spent on the trip was utterly wasted since the smugglers did not bring them to the promised destination, instead leaving them stranded with no hope.
Gawre Othman, a Yezidi mother, was among the desperate migrants trying to cross the border.
"We suffered so much that we wished for death," she recalled.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has repeatedly stated that the migrants have fallen victim to "criminal networks of smugglers" that abuse their vulnerable situations for financial gain.
On Thursday, nearly 400 Iraqi and Kurdistan Region citizens landed in Erbil and Baghdad airports after being brought back voluntarily on a repatriation flight. Authorities expect more migrants to return in the coming weeks.
Thousands of Iraqis, Syrian, Afghan migrants have been stranded on the Poland-Belarus borders as they try to enter a European Union country.