Travel documents, IDs, health insurance cards and other documents are sold on trading platforms and on social networks like Facebook, the German magazine Spiegel and newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote, referring to a secret report by the federal police.
These are presumed to be documents legally issued to migrants who have been granted asylum status in EU countries, primarily from Syria, reports say.
Boom in Illegal ID Trade
According to media outlets, Germany's Ministry of Interior has registered a growing number of cases of individuals entering the country with documents that had previously been issued to other people.
In 2016, local authorities registered 460 such incidents, in 2017 this figure rose to 554.
Some IDs are said to have been issued in Germany, the rest — in other countries, like Italy and France.
Greece — Epicenter of Illegal ID Sales
The illegal trade of documents has mostly been spread in Greece due to the fact that the country has been the main transit destination for migrants — both, arriving in the EU and leaving it, according to police reports.
Syrian refugees, who have no prospects in the EU and therefore decided to return to their families, use Greece as a gateway to Turkey, which is the number one non-EU transit country on their way back to Syria.
Situation in Turkey
At the same time, Turkish authorities are reluctant to allow the Syrians who have received asylum status in Germany, to enter its territory, reports say.
Therefore, smugglers recommend migrants sell their documents, "killing two birds with one stone": on the one hand, one can hide his or her true identity, and on the other, make good money.
The figures released are not dramatic yet. But German authorities are concerned that terrorist suspects can enter the country's territory using forged documents.
Security concerns have primarily been triggered by the growing number of radical Islamists residing on German soil and a significant increase in crimes associated with migrants.
While in 2013 it was reported that about 5,500 radical Islamists were living in Germany, by the first quarter of this year, this number had grown to 11,000.