Turkey’s Refugee Shadow Economy

Ben Hubbard, writing for The New York Times:

Mr. Abdul-Hamid’s swift success is a small part of the multimillion-dollar shadow economy that has developed in Turkey to profit from the massive human tide rushing toward Europe. Much of this new economy is visible in the streets here, where smugglers solicit refugees, clothing stores display life vests and inner tubes, and tour buses and taxis shuttle passengers to remote launch sites along the coast.

Money is flowing through Izmir, the third largest city in Turkey, now a grim hub for migrants and a boom town for residents. Hidden from view is an extensive smuggling infrastructure, with makeshift “insurance offices” that hold migrants’ money, covert factories that churn out ineffective life vests and underground suppliers of cheap rubber rafts that sometimes pop or capsize during the voyage to Greece, stranding or drowning people at sea.

There’s nothing better than reading something in bed before your day even begins that immediately sets your entire life, and how good you have it, into sharper focus.