Thread on how the smugglers/traffickers use zero down payment plan.
For many 0 down payment plan is the best option of safety at least that is what everyone believes, but the problem with zero down payment is in order for the system 2 work, it always requires a connection house.
Example Azeb is woman who lives in Asmara and wants to be smuggled to Khartoum and the smuggler has offered her the zero down payment option meaning Azeb doesn't have to pay for the trip until she reaches Sudan.
Azeb feels safe since she is not being asked to pay before the trip and agrees to pay 5000 US dollars for the trip which normally would cost under 2000 USD, once Azeb and other fellow refugees cross the Sudanese border they are taken straight to a connection house
often located at the border town Kassala for those coming from Eritrea and Humera for those coming via Ethiopia. Azeb and all others who crossed are now asked to call their loved ones and make the payment for the trip, Azeb might wonder or even ask but I made a deal
to go to Khartoum and the smuggler would reply i will get you to Khartoum once I get my money. Azebs family might not have the money and the smuggler doesn't like loosing money so the connection house slowly turns into a torture house or
it becomes a hostage house where families will be extorted to pay large sum amounts of money that could be four or five times more than the actual agreed payment. This is how smugglers or fixers often become traffickers
and I believe without the zero down-payment plan many smugglers wouldn't have become traffickers, the zero down-payment plan insures this smugglers get their money and if the refugee have the money ready it can go really smoothly. I have talked to refugees who managed to make the
payments within 10 minutes of their arrival and who would then arrive straight in Khartoum. Once in Khartoum the smugglers are often connected to other smugglers or fixers who will offer you different options. The option are often via Libya to Europe, via Turkey to Europe,
using passports or visas to Europe/US, fake marriage to almost anywhere in the world, or could be any African or Asian countries via Air, car, boat or on foot. All this options have different payment options, some offer zero down-payment plan, middle man who holds the money
until the person reaches final destination or payment first option without any guarantee.

Back to Azeb

Azeb is in Kassala waiting for her family to make the payment, first night in Kassala at the connection House she will be raped by the head smuggler/fixer
and this will go on until he is tired of her or looses interest in her or until the money is paid. If the money doesn't come in the next couple of days Azeb will become the cleaner and the cook of the connection house and will be raped by everyone who works under
the smuggler/fixer or who operates the house and if the money takes longer fellow male refugee travellers will be forced to rape Azeb for days to come. The payment is finally made and Azeb is taken to Khartoum to another connection house, if Azeb has someone in Khartoum they
will have to come and get her but if she doesn't then Azeb will be offered the above mentioned options. Since Azeb have no one or nowhere to go, most probably she will agree to another zero down-payment option again to go to Europe via Libya. Once she reaches Libya
she will be held at a connection house in one of these cities depending on what year it was ( first was Benghazi,then Ejdabiya and currently Beni Walid)

Currently over 10 000 Eritrean refugees from the refugee camps in Tigray are in Addis,
most of them are afraid to get registered with ARRA and are living in limbo in Addis and surrounding. Most of these refugees live and hang out in the same area, most of them are looking for a way out of Addis.
The smugglers often offer refugees free trip if they gather 6-8 refugees who want to travel to Sudan or Kenya, those refugees who can't afford to pay for the trip became fixers without realizing it and often spread rumours of how this smuggler or that smuggler has best
and safe routes. The smuggler in Addis is connected to the smuggler in Sudan and the smuggler in Sudan is connected to the smuggler in Libya who will then smuggle you on a boat to Italy/Malta. Now Eritrean refugees and Tegaru who fled Tigray are falling for this new wave of
smuggling networks towards Sudan and Kenya to Uganda, pre Tigray conflict From Ethiopia to Sudan the trip costs to $1500 max and then Sudan to Libya $2500 max. Now Ethiopia to Libya costs $7000 and 8 out of 10 boats who leave Libya will be intercepted
and the refugees will end up in one of those awful detentions, they chances making it to Europe is 20%. They will go through so many connection houses, ransom will be paid, they will get sold resold, ransom will be paid again and again, they get on the boat in hope to reach Italy
they will get intercepted and return back to Libya , put in detention, bribe someone to get out of detention, try to get on the boat again , get intercepted again.. repeat all over again and again.
We all have responsibility to raise awareness in our communities so that history doesn't repeat again and again like we have been used to in the past 20 years.

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More from @meronina

16 Mar
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Thread: As a refugee advocate & doing my radio program 'Voices of Eritrean Refugees' since 2008, I have met many refugees whose stories has given me many sleepless nights and had me often question humanity. I will try to share as many stories as I can.
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