RFE/RL’s Balkan Service Coverage Leads To Macedonia Trafficking Bust

Afghani migrant at the Serbia-Macedonia border(WASHINGTON — May 2, 2012) Coverage from RFE/RL’s Balkan Service highlighting the dangerous plight of illegal migrants on the Macedonia-Serbia border has led to the breaking-up of a human trafficking ring.

In January, Radio Slobodna Evropa released three reports about migrants from Asia and Africa who crossed illegally through the border villages of Lojane and Vaksince on their way to destinations throughout Europe. The coverage documented tensions with authorities, frustrations of local residents, and a desperate waiting game for migrants. In a video report, local municipal head Seljami Mehmeti called for police to stem the flow of migrants into Lojane. “The organizers [of this migrant route] should be found,” Mehmeti said. “We should find the criminals who are bringing [the migrants] here and taking money from them.”

Zoran Kuka, head of RFE/RL’s Macedonia Service, says the reports “shed light on the topic of illegal immigration which is underreported in Macedonian media. Our interviews with Ivo Kotevski, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, and Seljami Mehmeti brought this issue to the attention of the public.”

The April arrests — which came just two weeks after an RFE/RL report on continued illegal migration through Lojane — included two men who were charged with “trafficking immigrants, kidnapping and robbery.”

###

For a look at RFE/RL behind the scenes, check out RFE/RL’s “Off-Mic” blog. Or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Media inquiries in the U.S. can be made to Karisue Wyson in Washington at wysonk@rferl.org or +1.202.457.6917. In Europe, contact Zach Peterson in Prague at petersonz@rferl.org or +420.725.037.941. 

This entry was posted in Press Release, RFE/RL and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments are closed, but you can leave a trackback: Trackback URL.