The Shadow Economy Building Up Around The Refugee Crisis

October 4, 2015 in Daily Bulletin

Where there are thousands of people in close proximity there is an untapped market. Ben Hubbard looked at market infrastructure springing up as refugees continue to make their way to Europe:

  • In the coastal towns of North Africa, stores display lifejackets for sale on their mannequins.
  • They also offer inflatable rafts and other flotation devices.
  • Sadly many of these products are of low quality. Some of the lifejackets, for example, are made of a foam that absorb water rather than float on it.
  • But the real money is filling boats. Migrants pay about $1,200 per seat on a boat. Children cost half.
  • A raft can hold about 45 passengers, and after paying for commissions, the cost of boat and motor, and bribes, human smugglers can earn about $30,000 per boatload.
  • Migrants are terrified of paying their lifesavings to get on a boat, only to have the money stolen from them. This is why the money is held in escrow accounts, and is only transferred once the crossing is complete.
  • There are clauses in the contracts that allow agents to collect payment even if those on the boat drown.

Read more about this shadow economy over here.

Source: The New York Times

Via: Marginal Revolution