Citing the Agence France-Presse and Dogan news agencies, the Guardian reports that Turkish police have discovered a factory producing fake lifejackets filled with non-buoyant materials. Earlier this week, the bodies of 34 refugees washed ashore in Ayvalık and Dikili.
Police reportedly seized over a thousand lifejackets from the workshop in Izmir, a major hub for human smuggling on the Turkish coast, from which many refugees attempt to cross the Aegean sea to Greece. Two Syrian children were employed there.
The Guardian reported on the town’s smuggling industry in November. “We only sell two or three pairs of shoes a day,” one shop assistant said. “But we’re still selling between 100 and 300 lifejackets. In the summer sometimes it was a thousand—the factories couldn’t keep up.”
Turkey hosts more Syrian refugees than any other country in the world—about 2.2 million people. Police there have arrested more than 200 major smugglers since 2014.