17:15 GMT22 January 2021
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    Criminal gangs operating in Germany are increasingly recruiting refugees to their ranks and are urging them to take part in illegal work like drug trafficking, thefts and assaults on people, German newspaper Die Welt wrote.

    Most potential recruits live in refugee housing facilities and shelters, the article said referring to representatives of the Berlin police.

    "While the whole Germany is discussing the migration crisis, criminal gangs take advantage of the situation refugees are in," the newspaper quoted a German police officer as saying.

    According to the police representative, criminals are mostly interested in physically strong young men who could conduct "dirty work" — selling drugs, stealing money or physically assaulting people.

    The main problem, in this regard, is that Islamist groups have intentionally used the migration crisis to find new recruits, especially among unaccompanied under-age minors.

    "Salafists and other Islamists are trying to recruit refugees to their ranks," President of the German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution Hans-Georg Maaßen said, cited by the newspaper. "We have already registered 300 attempts to start a conversation. I am particularly worried about many unaccompanied minors. This group is targeted most of all."

    For many months, Europe has struggled to deal with an unprecedented migrant crisis, as hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled their war-torn home countries in the Middle East and North Africa in search of asylum in the wealthy EU member states.

    The asylum application process usually lasts for months, with many refugees being unable to find a job without knowledge of the German language and official work permit.

    "When refugees come here, they have no money. And they are shown how they can quickly get money without education. The need makes it possible, many of the refugees don't know a word in German and are very sensitive, if someone starts to speak with them in their language," Berlin senior public prosecutor Sjors Kamstra said, cited by the newspaper.

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    Tags:
    refugee crisis, recruitment, terrorism, criminal gang, Germany
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