KATUNITSA - Some 10 to 12 million Roma are estimated to travel around Europe. The political dimension of this ethnical and social challenge is an ongoing discussion in the EU, but what is never told is the dark economy of Roma migration. Who benefits from the large afflux of mainly poor people into western Europe?

Roma who turn to prostitution, theft or badly-paid labour often do so because of financial pressure. Back home, someone is waiting for money: the 'king' who brought them to western Europe.

Annika Joeres, David Schraven and Stanimir Vaglenov investigated Roma migration into Western Europe. They approached the issue from three perspectives: their three countries of residence, i.e. France, Germany and Bulgaria respectively.

The investigation focused on the profiteers of the transportation, the housing and the employment of Roma in Western Europe. Vaglenov looked at the traders who bring Roma over the frontier and on their living conditions in Eastern Europe, while Schraven sought out details on landlords, employers and traders who work with Roma in Germany. Joerens investigated Roma trading routes into France and their exploitation in factories, tourist restaurants and hotels.

Photographs by Annika Joeres and Boryana Katsarova/cosmos/Agentur Focus.

Team members

Annika Joeres

Annika Joeres (1978) is a German journalist based in France.

David Schraven

David Schraven (born 1970 in Bottrop, Germany) is a German journalist.

Stanimir Vaglenov

Stanimir Vaglenov is the online projects manager at Media Group Bulgaria.

Grant of €5.500, awarded on 24/10/2011

An article in Die Tageszeitung - 'Am Ende des Traums' (DE), published 9 February 2013.
An article in 24 Chasa - 'Краят на илюзиите' (BL), published 18 February 2013.
An article on EUobserver - 'Roma exploitation: end of the dream' (EN), published 20 February 2013.

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