Human traffickers are intentionally circulating misinformation.
For several weeks now, the Federal Foreign Office has been working to counter the numerous rumours and untruths which are being spread about fleeing to Germany, particularly via social media. It is through these channels that human traffickers spread misinformation to boost their criminal machinations. This includes for example the false claim that refugees in Germany are granted citizenship immediately or that German support to stabilise Afghanistan is to be halted. German missions abroad in the relevant countries have identified these untruths in the local media and now use their own social media channels to set the record straight.
Huge posters and social media campaigns
The current campaign heralds a new phase in this public awareness work. In Kabul, huge posters have been put up in particularly busy areas of the city. In the next few days, posters are also to be put up in Mazar‑e‑Sharif and Herat. The posters ask the following questions in the local languages of Dari and Pashto: “Leaving Afghanistan? Are you sure?” and “Leaving Afghanistan? Have you thought this through?”. At the bottom, the posters recommend the hashtag “#RumoursAboutGermany” and the information portal “www.rumoursaboutgermany.info” with which the Federal Foreign Office is using the internet to systematically tackle the rumours circulating and to set the record straight.
Informing people not putting them off
The aim of the campaign is to give people information not to put them off. Some people are currently selling all they own to pay human traffickers and put their own lives at risk - all because of the misinformation about Germany which the traffickers are peddling. The campaign provides a response to this phenomenon by presenting comprehensible portrayals of what life is like in Germany, the risks of fleeing and the legal conditions for entry and residence.
An important part of the message is the clear commitment to German engagement in Afghanistan. After all, the work to stabilise the country and boost civilian reconstruction is not up for debate. Involvement in training and advising the Afghan armed forces as part of the Resolute Support Mission is to be extended as the Bundestag is expected to vote in favour in December.
The campaign is flanked by the information programme “Flight to Europe” that Deutsche Welle have been offering for Afghanistan and Pakistan since late September in Dari, Pashto and Urdu. Furthermore, public awareness work is being performed by the German missions abroad far beyond the region. After all, no‑one should put their lives in the hands of human traffickers based on misinformation.