Swedish immigration has collaborated with Moroccan authorities to discover that 90% of Moroccan 'street children' in Sweden are adults.
Rabat – A new agreement between Sweden and Morocco, which enables Swedish border police to match the fingerprints of unaccompanied minors to Morocco’s databases, has revealed that 90% of Moroccan immigrant minors are actually adults.
“When we find their identity, they leave the country and move on to other cities in Europe such as Barcelona or Paris. They do not want the police to know who they are because then they can be punished and be expelled to Morocco,” says Christian Froden, group manager at the border police in Stockholm.
The adults who pose as children do so primarily to gain accommodation and care upon their arrival. However, these migrants all have unique stories. One such story is Ali’s, who left Morocco hoping for a better life abroad.
Ali arrived in Sweden over a year ago, at age 22. He lied to authorities, saying that he was 16, as he had heard from friends that this was the easiest way to get help from the Swedish authorities.
When he first came to Sweden he was given accommodation and he went to school. He also did an internship at a car repair shop. However, his real age was subsequently revealed using fingerprints identified by Moroccan databases. Now, Ali lives on the street and makes a living with petty crime.
Ali told Swedish news outlet SVT Nyheter that life in Sweden was not what Ali had hoped for. He said that he fears being caught and at night he sleeps in the metro or anywhere he can find that is warm and reasonably safe.
By his own admission, he sees “no future” in Sweden and would like to move to Belgium instead, where he has contacts and plans to start a drug-peddling scheme.
The fingerprint tests have shown that only ten percent of immigrants claiming to be minors are younger than 18 years of age.
Many of the children who previously lived on the streets, whose fingerprints show them to be minors, 8 have been placed in family homes or in other shelters.
“Sometimes we have to use forced care to slow down a destructive lifestyle,” says Christian Froden.
The number of young people from Morocco seeking asylum in Sweden is decreasing, according to the Swedish Migration Board’s statistics.
For the past seven years, a total of 1800 single men from Morocco have applied for asylum in Sweden. But this year, so far only 55 people have applied for asylum, which is 20 percent fewer than during the same period last year.