RealNews

Thriving Kurdish Trade in Fake Passports Slumps

It is unusually quiet in this corner of this sprawling marketplace, where a line of shop windows advertise compact discs. The shelves are empty, for the most part. As everyone here knows, this is the site of the passport market or, more accurately, the former passport market. After gaining effective independence from Saddam Hussein in 1991, Iraqi Kurds were left in an uncertain legal status. While having no relations with the government of Saddam Hussein, they remained a part of Iraq and were never recognized as a country. For its people, that had many ramifications. First among them was that no one had a passport. A bustling business in fake passports emerged. Forgers would either steal blank passports or buy passports from Iraqis desperate for extra cash and not hopeful about their prospects of travel. These were then amended and sold to Kurds, who would get out of the country with the help of smugglers. Full Story

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