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Smuggling, selling Zaatari refugee trailers becoming ‘lucrative business’ — report

By JT - Jun 06,2015 - Last updated at Jun 06,2015

A trailer reportedly smuggled from the Zaatari Refugee Camp is on sale on the side of a street in Irbid, 80km north of Amman, recently (Petra photo)

AMMAN — After traders made a business out of illegally selling tents smuggled out from the Zaatari Refugee Camp, their trade expanded to include trailers as well, according to a report published Saturday by the Jordan News Agency, Petra.

At the camp, located 90km northeast of Amman, more than 85 per cent of the 83,500 refugees live in trailers.

Quoting a “specialised trader”, Petra reported that “specialised middlemen” arrange for the trailers to be carried on winch trucks and delivered to dealers, who sell them at prices ranging between JD1,100 and JD1,200.

The trader said demand for Zaatari trailers is on the rise, due to their quality and relatively cheap price compared with caravans manufactured locally, which cost as much as JD1,800.

Samer, a Zaatari resident, told Petra that the camp’s administration works to put a stop to the phenomenon, with people caught smuggling trailers every day and referred to the judiciary.

A trailer is dismantled into 24 separate pieces, each weighing between four and seven kilogrammes, which makes it easier to smuggle them out of the camp to be sold for JD400 to JD500, according to the resident.

The dealer who buys the pieces reassembles them outside the camp and sells one trailer for more than JD1,000, according to Samer.

Petra quoted another Zaatari resident, who said on condition of anonymity that he had to sell his trailer for JD500 to make ends meet.


However, Interior Ministry Spokesperson Ziad Zu’bi said the ministry has not recorded any cases of trailers being smuggled out of refugee camps, but Petra reported sighting trailers being sold on the side of a main street in Irbid, 80km north of Amman, witnessing a negotiation over the sale of a JD1,400 trailer.

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