Here’s a typical journalist’s report from the Washington Post – this one from June 2015, on a group of refugees’ flight from Aleppo, Syria to Gmünd, Austria. The group consists of 4 adults and one child. So, the reporter, Anthony Faiola, in vivid prose, wrote about the hardships and harrowing experiences, on “The Black Route”, but I kept jotting down the dollar amounts listed and this does not include food or lodging, only the cost of transportation paid to smugglers and the cost of a smartphone, which is how the refugees communicate with each other and the smuggling network. Here’s the list:
$275 smartphone (article states that is almost 3 months of the one refugee’s pay)
$2,000 per adult (4 adults) paid to Ukrainian smugglers to take them from Turkey to the island of Tilos
$12,000 amount paid to a Syrian smuggler, whom they say absconded with their money
$330 for a 52 mile taxi ride from Thessaloniki to the Macedonian border
$550 each to pay a smuggler to get them from Hungary to Vienna, although the story says they only had half that amount by this point
Now they didn’t pay that $550 each, because that plan fell through, but excluding that $2,750, the story indicates over $20,000 was paid to smugglers to get 4 adults and 1 child to Austria.
$275 was almost three months pay for one of those men, a deliveryman in Aleppo. His niece, another of this group worked as a kindergarten teacher, then there are two other young men, whose occupations aren’t mentioned and the one child. Where did they come up with over $20,000 for this journey? These are the kinds of things I wonder about.
So many of these stories don’t add up, both in dollars and cents, but also in common sense.