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Spain: The Difficult Path to Asylum
Barcelona, Spain
By Albert Gonzalez Farran
19 Jun 2015

According to the UNHCR, there are more than 60 million refugees worldwide, who had to flee their homes because of prosecution, wars and human rights violations. This is the highest figure since the end of World War II.

Once again, the number of people who managed to seek asylum in Spain has been very low: only 5,947, which just represents 0.95% of the total in 28 countries from the European Union. And among all those asylum seekers, only 384 got the refugee status by the Spanish government.
Barcelona is the second city in Spain with the highest number of asylum requests (690). Only Madrid shows a higher figure (1,861). This photo collection shows the story of 6 migrants, most of them asylum seekers and refugees who live and survive in Barcelona.

World Refugee Day is held every year on June 20.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story
Kafranbel
By Transterra Editor
30 Apr 2015

Majd Bayoush is a 22-year-old who fled his hometown of Kafranbel in north Syria with the aim of smuggling himself into Europe. After a perilous and complicated journey that lasted for nearly three months, he reached Germany, where he is waiting for the final procedures before he is granted political asylum.

The following is his story as told to Transterra Media.

I arrived to the port city of Izmir, Turkey on September 22, 2014. On the same day, I took an inflatable boat with 47 other migrants and sailed to the Greek island of Samos. We reached our destination after 2.5 hours. The boat deflated and sank after it hit the rocky shore.   

We had agreed with the smuggler Abu Abdu, a Syrian man nicknamed ‘the Tiger’, to surrender to the Greek police once we reach the island. Before leaving Turkey, I deposited 8,000 euros at a money transfer office called ‘al-Saeed’ controlled by the smuggling gang.  [This transfer company has offices in other countries.] Abu Abdu took 2,500 euros out of that sum.

We climbed a mountain on the island of Samos and reached a police station, where policemen confiscated all our possessions, including our mobile phones, and detained us for three days. On Sept. 25, the police authorities placed us below the deck in a cruise boat, which headed to an island near Samos. I do not know its name. There was a camp that held other captured illegal migrants who were Afghans, Asians and Palestinians. However, most of them were Syrians. 

FULL TEXT IS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 03
Samos
By Transterra Editor
28 Apr 2015

Majd and other migrants at the ferry boat dock before the voyage to Athens after being released from a detention camp near Samos, Greece.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story ...
Kafranbel
By Transterra Editor
27 Apr 2015

Majd Bayoush is a 22-year-old who fled his hometown of Kafranbel in north Syria with the aim of smuggling himself into Europe. After a perilous and complicated journey that lasted for nearly three months, he reached Germany, where he is waiting for the final procedures before he is granted political asylum.

SHOTLIST

Shot of migrants on climbing a mountain after reaching the Greek island of Samos

OFF CAMERA
00:09 – 00:16
“This is the boat after UNINTELLIGIBLE."

Shot of the migrants on the boat to Athens

NAT Sound
01:01 – 01:03
“Film where we were staying.”

01:08 – 01:11
“Film the mountain there.” Shot of the migrants walking along railroad tracks from Greece to Macedonia

OFF CAMERA
01:31 – 01:32
“The road to Macedonia.”

Shot of migrant encampment near the Greek-Macedonian border

NAT Sound
01:52- 01:56
“I hope you have not filmed me.”

02:07 – 02:10
“We need light bulb and electricity.”

Shot of a Macedonian soldier overseeing the migrant’s tents on the border after burning them

OFF CAMERA
02:25 – 02:31
“The Macedonian army. The Greek-Macedonian border.” 02:39 - 02:43
“All you do is film.” Shot of burnt tents near the Greek-Macedonian border
Shot of migrants around a fire in Gevgilija, Macedonia

OFF CAMERA
03:16 -03:24
“The Macedonian-Greek border. Syrian and Iraqi refugee.”

Shot of migrants in the outdoors in an unnamed area near the Macedonian-Serbian border
Shot of migrants walking railroad tracks near the Greek-Macedonian border

OFF CAMERA
03:54 – 03:56
“The Macedonian border.”

Shot inside the central prison in Gazi Baba, Skpoje

OFF CAMERA
04:30 – 05:14
“This is the bathroom. This is where we wash. Even animals are washed in a better place. Animals are washed in a place that is better than this. These are the sinks. We are in Skopje.[SHOWING A WATER HEATER] They have cut the wires so that we do not shower with hot water. This is the toilet.”

Shot of migrants arriving to a house owned by a Pakistani smuggler who called himself Ahmad.

OFF CAMERA
05:18
“The Macedonian-Serbian border.” 05:34
“The Macedonian-Serbian border.”

Shot of the courtyard of a house owned by a Pakistani smuggler who called himself Ahmad
Shot of migrants walking at night in the outdoors in Serbia

NAT Sound
05:57
“-Are you filming? -Yes.”

Shot of migrants being transported by tractor in Serbia

Shot of migrants walking at night in the outdoors in Serbia
Exterior shot of the house in which Majd lives in the village of Tönning near Hamburg

06:38
OFF CAMERA
“This is the house to which I was moved in Hamburg. They gave me this house until my residency permit is issued. This is a village called Tunning to the north of Hamburg.”

Traveling shot of a street in Tönning, near Hamburg

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Syrian Refugee Stories: Hussein
Berlin,Germany
By luigi serenelli
10 Mar 2015

Hussein, a 27 year-old from Aleppo, considers Germany the right place in Europe to fulfill his career as an IT engineer while his home country, Syria, enters the fifth year of an unending civil war.

“I came to Germany to complete and advance my studies to become an engineer,” said Hussein. “I don’t know exactly how many years of my previous study institutions here will officially recognize. Maybe they will put me in the first year, but I am ready to re-start from the first year at university if that should be the case.”

Hussein arrived in Berlin on March 6th via Turkey and Greece. The civil war in Syria forced him to withdraw from a five-years course in IT engineering at the university in Aleppo.

“I had a diploma as a computer technician, then I decided to upgrade my certificate by attending engineering courses. I studied for two years in an institute for the diploma and then four years at a university,” Hussein said.

Back in Syria, Hussein’s livelihood was decent, but his wage of around 250 euros didn’t secure him economic independence.

“I had my own house that my parents gave to me, but I didn’t live there, and I had my own car, but they were both destroyed,” he said.

In Aleppo, Hussein taught computer science in a school to students from 6th to 11th grade. Meanwhile, he had a second job.

“I was a swim instructor. I used to go directly to the swimming pool when I finished work at the school, and also I worked as a lifeguard. I was in a good situation before the war.”

Many other skilled Syrians take the decision to start anew a life in Europe. On the continent, Germany’s powerful mix of stable economy and welfare state catches hearts and minds of young, talented asylum seekers from Syria. 

“There is life in Germany, more than other Scandinavian countries such as Sweden or Denmark,” Hussein believes. “Berlin is the best city in Europe for everything. The university is very good here in Germany. Most people are helpful towards new people coming.”

The number of refugees arriving in Berlin from war-torn Syria spiked last year. According to LAGeSo – Landesamtes für Gesundheit und Soziales - the operative branch of the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs of the State of Berlin - in 2013 only 695 Syrians applied to start the asylum procedure in the German capital. In 2014, that number jumped to 2.518. The German Federal migration office recorded 5.340 new asylum requests from Syrians since last January, which in the same month of 2014 numbered only 1.637, a 224 per cent increase.

Syrians coming to Europe try to circumvent the Dublin regulation – imposing asylum seekers to stay in the first country of arrival in Europe – by asking to register as asylum seekers either in Berlin or Stuttgart, southern Germany. Both cities have decided to issue residence permits even if refugees had registered somewhere else in Europe.

“All Syrians, when they come from Turkey to Austria or Germany, should pass through Hungary or Italy; and the police maybe catches them and takes the fingerprints,” Hussein said. “For that, all people are coming here and you can see too many people. I came via Turkey, Greece and then I took a flight to Germany.”

Hussein’s family is now scattered in the Middle East: His father is in Lebanon, his mother is still in Syria. “I am in contact with my parents every day via internet,” he said. “In Germany, I have my friends from Syria and two cousins who are German nationals.”

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Syrian Stories: Hussein 01
Berlin, Germany
By luigi serenelli
10 Mar 2015

Hussein, 27, poses for sits in front of LAGeSo – Landesamtes für Gesundheit und Soziales - the operative branch of the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs of the State of Berlin - where he awaits his turn to ask for a residence permit.

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Syrian Stories: Hussein 02
Berlin, Germany
By luigi serenelli
09 Mar 2015

Hussein, 27, poses for sits in front of LAGeSo – Landesamtes für Gesundheit und Soziales - the operative branch of the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs of the State of Berlin - where he awaits his turn to ask for a residence permit.

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Syrian Stories: Hussein 03
Berlin, Germany
By luigi serenelli
09 Mar 2015

Hussein, 27, poses for sits in front of LAGeSo – Landesamtes für Gesundheit und Soziales - the operative branch of the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs of the State of Berlin - where he awaits his turn to ask for a residence permit.

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German Social Worker Talks on Syrian ...
Berlin, Germany
By luigi serenelli
26 Feb 2015

Joachim Rueffer is a social worker at the Berlin-based association Kommt Mit e V. He explains that a great part of the Syrian refugees arriving in Berlin and Germany are doctors, engineers, teachers, and skilled workers. Those people are in some cases forced to live in public gyms used by the Berlin administration to cope with the high influx of asylum seekers arriving in the German capital. The German authorities do not automatically recognized Syrian asylum seekers’ qualifications, and long bureaucratic procedures postpone the access to the job market by years. A waterlogged real estate market in Berlin also makes it hard to find a flat at a cost that the social welfare office is willing to sustain. Syrian refugees make up by far the largest foreign group asking for asylum in Germany.

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German Social Worker Talks on Syrian ...
Berlin, Germany
By luigi serenelli
26 Feb 2015

Joachim Rueffer is a social worker at the Berlin-based association Kommt Mit e V. He explains that a great part of the Syrian refugees arriving in Berlin and Germany are doctors, engineers, teachers, and skilled workers. Those people are in some cases forced to live in public gyms used by the Berlin administration to cope with the high influx of asylum seekers arriving in the German capital. The German authorities do not automatically recognized Syrian asylum seekers’ qualifications, and long bureaucratic procedures postpone the access to the job market by years. A waterlogged real estate market in Berlin also makes it hard to find a flat at a cost that the social welfare office is willing to sustain. Syrian refugees make up by far the largest foreign group asking for asylum in Germany.

Frame 0004
German Social Worker Talks on Syrian ...
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
26 Feb 2015

Joachim Rueffer is a social worker at the Berlin-based association Kommt Mit e V. He explains that a great part of the Syrian refugees arriving in Berlin and Germany are doctors, engineers, teachers, and skilled workers. Those people are in some cases forced to live in public gyms used by the Berlin administration to cope with the high influx of asylum seekers arriving in the German capital. The German authorities do not automatically recognized Syrian asylum seekers’ qualifications, and long bureaucratic procedures postpone the access to the job market by years. A waterlogged real estate market in Berlin also makes it hard to find a flat at a cost that the social welfare office is willing to sustain. Syrian refugees make up by far the largest foreign group asking for asylum in Germany.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 22
Lojane
By Transterra Editor
28 Nov 2014

Migrants gathered in the house of a Pakistani smuggler called Ahmad in Lojane, Macedonia.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 19
Skopje
By Transterra Editor
27 Nov 2014

The Moroccan smuggler nicknamed The Desert Man (al-Sahrawi) appears on the right, wearing a white sweatshirt, inside a camp for illegal migrants in Skopje, Macedonia. This smuggler had bribed the guards to allow him to move freely in and out of the camp.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 06
Gevgelija
By Transterra Editor
08 Nov 2014

Migrants pose for a photo at their makeshift camp inside Macedonian territory near the border with Greece.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 15
Macedonia
By Transterra Editor
08 Nov 2014

A tent in the makeshift encampment in Gevgilija, Macedonia where the migrants waited for a smuggler on their second attempt to cross into Serbia

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 05
Polykastro
By Transterra Editor
07 Nov 2014

Migrants walk along the railroad tracks starting from Polykastro, Greece. This was their second attempt to reach the border with Macedonia.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 14
Polykastro
By Transterra Editor
07 Nov 2014

Migrants walk along the railroad tracks starting from Polykastro, Greece. This was their second attempt to reach the border with Macedonia.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 12
Gevgelija
By Transterra Editor
27 Oct 2014

Migrants waited in this makeshift encampment in Gevgilija, Macedonia for the smuggler who would escort them to Serbia.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 13
Gevgelija
By Transterra Editor
27 Oct 2014

Migrants waited a day at this makeshift encampment in Gevgilija, Macedonia for the smuggler who would take them to Serbia.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 11
Gevgelija
By Transterra Editor
26 Oct 2014

Macedonian soldiers burned these tents, in which the migrants stayed on the Macedonian-Greek border.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 09
Polykastro
By Transterra Editor
24 Oct 2014

Migrants had to walk along this railroad track for 11 hours as they attempted to reach Macedonia.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 10
Polykastro
By Transterra Editor
24 Oct 2014

Migrants faced an 11 hour trek along this railroad track as they attempted to reach Macedonia for the first time.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 20
Athens
By Transterra Editor
10 Oct 2014

Majd took this photo of fellow migrants in Athens, Greece.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 02
Samos
By Transterra Editor
05 Oct 2014

Majd on a dock near the ferry boat that will transport him with other migrants to Athens after being released from a detention camp near Samos, Greece.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 04
Samos
By Transterra Editor
05 Oct 2014

Migrants who traveled with Majd inside the police vehicle that was taking them to a port near Samos, after being released from a detention camp.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 21
Samos
By Transterra Editor
05 Oct 2014

The detention camp for illegal migrants on an island near Samos, Greece.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 07
Samos
By Transterra Editor
22 Sep 2014

Majd takes a 'selfie' with a friend after reaching the Greek island of Samos from Izmir, Turkey.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 08
Samos
By Transterra Editor
22 Sep 2014

Migrants climb a hill on the Greek island of Samos following the voyage from Izmir, Turkey.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 16
Samos
By Transterra Editor
22 Sep 2014

Majd and two other migrants on an inflatable boat sailing from Izmir, Turkey to Samos, Greece.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 17
Samos
By Transterra Editor
22 Sep 2014

Migrants pose for a photo on an inflatable boat sailing from Izmir, Turkey to Samos, Greece.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 18
Izmir
By Transterra Editor
18 Sep 2014

The receipts Majd received after depositing 8,000 euros at the money transfer office run by the smugglers in Izmir, Turkey on September 18, 2014.

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Novel Ozatsi.
Libya
By Nohad Ghayad
21 Oct 2013

Video about : A novel about the reality of political asylum and the successes and failures they face to escape from the prisons and the political repression that suffer from it in their own country.