A growing number of women and young girls housed in refugee shelters in Germany are being raped, sexually assaulted and even forced into prostitution by male asylum seekers, according to German social work organizations with first-hand knowledge of the situation.
Many of the rapes are occurring in mixed-gender shelters, where, due to a lack of space, German authorities are forcing thousands of male and female migrants to share the same sleeping areas and restroom facilities.
Conditions for women and girls at some shelters are so perilous that females are being described as "wild game" fighting off Muslim male predators. But many victims, fearing reprisals, are keeping silent, social workers say.
At the same time, growing numbers of German women in towns and cities across the country are being raped by asylum seekers from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Many of the crimes are being downplayed by German authorities and the national media, apparently to avoid fueling anti-immigration sentiments.
On August 18, a coalition of four social work organizations and women's rights groups sent a two-page letter to the leaders of the political parties in the regional parliament in Hesse, a state in west-central Germany, warning them of the worsening situation for women and children in the refugee shelters. The letter said:
"The ever-increasing influx of refugees has complicated the situation for women and girls at the receiving center in Giessen (HEAE) and its subsidiaries.
"The practice of providing accommodations in large tents, the lack of gender-separate sanitary facilities, premises that cannot be locked, the lack of safe havens for women and girls — to name just a few spatial factors — increases the vulnerability of women and children within the HEAE. This situation plays into the hands of those men who assign women a subordinate role and treat women traveling alone as 'wild game'.
"The consequences are numerous rapes and sexual assaults. We are also receiving an increasing number of reports of forced prostitution. It must be stressed: these are not isolated cases.
"Women report that they, as well as children, have been raped or subjected to sexual assault. As a result, many women sleep in their street clothes. Women regularly report that they do not use the toilet at night because of the danger of rape and robbery on the way to the sanitary facilities. Even during daylight, passing through the camp is a frightful situation for many women.
"Many women — in addition to fleeing wars or civil wars — are also on the run for gender-related reasons, including the threat of forced marriage or genital mutilation. These women who face special risks, especially when they are on the run alone or with their children. Even if they are accompanied by male relatives or acquaintances, this does not always ensure protection against violence because it can also lead to specific dependencies and sexual exploitation.
"Most female refugees have experienced a variety of traumatizing experiences in their country of origin and while on the run. They are victims of violence, kidnappings, torture, rape and extortion — sometimes over periods of several years.
"The feeling to have arrived here — in safety — and to be able to move without fear, is a gift for many women.... We therefore ask you...to join our call for the immediate establishment of protected premises (locked apartments or houses) for women and children who are travelling alone....
"These facilities must be equipped so that men do not have access to the premises of the women, with the exception of emergency workers and security personnel. In addition bedrooms, lounges, kitchens and sanitary facilities must be interconnected so that they form a self-contained unit — and thus can only be reached via lockable and monitored access to the house or the apartment."
After several blogs (here, here and here) drew attention to the letter, the LandesFrauenRat (LFR) Hessen, a women's lobbying group that originally uploaded the politically incorrect document to its website, abruptly removed it on September 14, without explanation.
The problem of rapes and sexual assaults in German refugee shelters is a nationwide problem.
In Bavaria, women and girls housed at a refugee shelter in Bayernkaserne, a former military base in Munich, are subject to rape and forced prostitution on a daily basis, according to women's rights groups. Although the facility has separate dorm rooms for women, the doors cannot be locked and men control access to the sanitary facilities.
Approximately 80% of the refugees/migrants at the shelter are male, according to Bavarian Broadcasting (Bayerischer Rundfunk), which reports that the price for sex with female asylum seekers is ten euros. A social worker described the facility this way: "We are the biggest brothel in Munich."
Police insist they have no proof that the rapes are taking place, although a police raid on the facility found that guards hired to provide security at the site were trafficking drugs and weapons and were turning a blind eye to the prostitution.
On August 28, a 22-year-old Eritrean asylum seeker was sentenced to one year and eight months in prison for attempting to rape a 30-year-old Iraqi-Kurdish woman at a refugee shelter in the Bavarian town of Höchstädt. The reduced sentence was thanks to the efforts of the defense attorney, who persuaded the judge that the defendant's situation at the shelter was hopeless: "For a year now he sits around and thinks about — about nothingness."
On August 26, a 34-year-old asylum seeker attempted to rape a 34-year-old woman in the laundry room of a refugee facility in Stralsund, a city near the Baltic Sea.
On August 6, police revealed that a 13-year-old Muslim girl was raped by another asylum seeker at a refugee facility in Detmold, a city in west-central Germany. The girl and her mother reportedly fled their homeland to escape a culture of sexual violence; as it turns out, the man who raped the girl is from their country.
Although the rape took place in June, police kept silent about it for nearly three months, until local media published a story about the crime. According to an editorial comment in the newspaper Westfalen-Blatt, police are refusing to go public about crimes involving refugees and migrants because they do not want to give legitimacy to critics of mass migration.
Police chief Bernd Flake countered that the silence was aimed at protecting the victim. "We will continue with this policy [of not informing the public] whenever crimes are committed in refugee facilities," he said.
Over the weekend of June 12-14, a 15-year-old girl housed at a refugee shelter in Habenhausen, a district in the northern city of Bremen, was repeatedly raped by two other asylum seekers. The facility has been has been described as a "house of horrors" due to the spiraling violence perpetrated by rival gangs of youth from Africa and Kosovo. A total of 247 asylum seekers are staying at the shelter, which has a capacity for 180 and a cafeteria with seating for 53.
Meanwhile, the raping of German women by asylum seekers is becoming commonplace. Following are a few select cases just from 2015:
On September 11, a 16-year-old girl was raped by an unidentified "dark-skinned man speaking broken German" close to a refugee shelter in the Bavarian town of Mering. The attack occurred while the girl was walking home from the train station.
On August 13, police arrested two Iraqi asylum seekers, aged 23 and 19, for raping an 18-year-old German woman behind a schoolyard in Hamm, a city in North Rhine-Westphalia.
On July 26, a 14-year-old boy was sexually assaulted inside the bathroom of a regional train in Heilbronn, a city in southwestern Germany. Police are looking for a "dark skinned" man between the ages of 30 and 40 who has an "Arab appearance." Also on July 26, a 21-year-old Tunisian asylum seeker raped a 20-year-old woman in the Dornwaldsiedlung district of Karlsruhe. Police kept the crime secret until August 14, when a local paper went public with the story.
On June 9, two Somali asylum seekers, aged 20 and 18, were sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison for raping a 21-year-old German woman in Bad Kreuznach, a town in Rhineland-Palatinate, on December 13, 2014.
On June 5, a 30-year-old Somali asylum seeker called "Ali S" was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison for attempting to rape a 20-year-old woman in Munich. Ali had previously served a seven-year sentence for rape, and had been out of prison for only five months before he attacked again. In an effort to protect the identity of Ali S, a Munich newspaper referred to him by the more politically correct "Joseph T."
On May 22, a 30-year-old Moroccan man was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison for attempting to rape a 55-year-old woman in Dresden. On May 20, a 25-year-old Senegalese asylum seeker was arrested after he attempted to rape a 21-year-old German woman at the Stachus, a large square in central Munich.
On April 16, a 21-year-old asylum seeker from Iraq was sentenced to three years and ten months in prison for raping a 17-year-old girl at festival in the Bavarian town of Straubing in August 2014. On April 7, a 29-year-old asylum seeker was arrested for the attempted rape of a 14-year-old girl in the town of Alzenau.
On March 17, two Afghan asylum seekers aged 19 and 20 were sentenced to five years in prison for the "particularly abhorrent" rape of a 21-year-old German woman in Kirchheim, a town near Stuttgart, on August 17, 2014.
On February 11, a 28-year-old asylum seeker from Eritrea was sentenced to four years in prison for raping a 25-year-old German woman in Stralsund, along the Baltic Sea, in October 2014.
On February 1, a 27-year-old asylum seeker from Somalia was arrested after attempting to rape women in the Bavarian town of Reisbach.
On January 16, a 24-year-old Moroccan immigrant raped a 29-year-old woman in Dresden.
Dozens of other cases of rape and attempted rape — cases in which police are specifically looking for foreign perpetrators (German police often refer to them as Südländer, or "southerners") — remain unresolved. Following is a partial list just for August 2015:
On August 23, a "dark skinned" man attempted to rape a 35-year-old woman in Dortmund. On August 17, three male "southerners" attempted to rape a 42-year-old woman in Ansbach. On August 16, a male "southerner" raped a woman in Hanau.
On August 12, a male "southerner" attempted to rape a 17-year-old woman in Hannover. Also on August 12, a male "southerner" exposed himself to a 31-year-old woman in Kassel. Police say a similar incident occurred in the same area on August 11.
On August 10, five men of "Turkish origin" attempted to rape a girl in Mönchengladbach. Also on August 10, a male "southerner" raped a 15-year-old girl in Rinteln. On August 8, a male "southerner" attempted to rape a 20-year-old woman in Siegen.
On August 3, a "North African" raped a seven-year-old girl in broad daylight in a park in Chemnitz, a city in eastern Germany. On August 1, a male "southerner" attempted to rape a 27-year-old woman in downtown Stuttgart.
Meanwhile, parents are being warned to look after their daughters. Police in the Bavarian town of Mering, where a 16-year-old-girl was raped on September 11, have issued a warning to parents not to allow their children to go outside unaccompanied. They have also advised women not to walk to or from the train station alone because of its proximity to a refugee shelter.
In the Bavarian town of Pocking, administrators of the Wilhelm-Diess-Gymnasium have warned parents not to let their daughters wear revealing clothing in order to avoid "misunderstandings" with the 200 Muslim refugees housed in emergency accommodations in a building next to the school. The letter said:
"The Syrian citizens are mainly Muslim and speak Arabic. The refugees have their own culture. Because our school is directly next to where they are staying, modest clothing should be worn in order to avoid disagreements. Revealing tops or blouses, short shorts or miniskirts could lead to misunderstandings."
A local politician quoted by Die Welt newspaper said:
"When Muslim teenage boys go to open air swimming pools, they are overwhelmed when they see girls in bikinis. These boys, who come from a culture where for women it is frowned upon to show naked skin, will follow girls and bother them without their realizing it. Naturally, this generates fear."
The increase in sex crimes in Germany is being fueled by the preponderance of Muslim males among the mix of refugees/migrants entering the country.
Where are the women?
A record 104,460 asylum seekers arrived in Germany in August, bringing the cumulative total for the first eight months of 2015 to 413,535. Germany expects to receive a total of 800,000 refugees and migrants this year, a four-fold increase over 2014.
At least 80% of the incoming refugees/migrants are Muslim, according to a recent estimate by the Central Council of Muslims in Germany (Zentralrat der Muslime in Deutschland, ZMD), a Muslim umbrella group based in Cologne.
The asylum seekers are also overwhelmingly male. Of the 411,567 refugees/migrants who have entered the European Union by sea so far this year, 72% have been male, 13% women and 15% children, according to calculations by the United Nations Refugee Agency. Information about the gender of those arriving by land remains unavailable.
Of the asylum seekers arriving in Germany in 2014, 71.5% of those between ages 16 and 18 were male; 77.5% in the 18-25 age group were male; as were 73.5% of those between 25 and 30, according to German migration statistics. Data for 2015 is not yet available.
Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter.