Projekt Maramures is accused of using German teens for slave labour, rather than providing them with ‘re-education’, all at a huge cost to the state. The project's managers deny all claims of abuse and exploitation.
Five individuals were arrested last week in Romania on charges of smuggling, imprisonment and abusing German children and teenagers. The project manager is accused of having established a criminal organization to benefit from the exploitation of young Germans as slaves. As a minimum, four German children have already given evidence about their shocking abuse. The children, aged 12 to 18 years old, were locked up at a ‘camp’, their passports and ID cards taken away, and were forced to do heavy manual labour on farms, where they slept next to the animals.
The camp, situated in the Maramures region, claims to help disadvantaged teens start a new life. The program, supported by the German state, specifically targets children with mental health issues, drug addiction, and those who have been in conflict with the law. During the program, the children must wake up at 5 a.m. to feed the animals, clean the stalls, collect wood for the fire, build houses, and work in the fields.
The German government provided 4,000–6,000 EUR/month for the care of the children, who spent the first couple of months at the program’s headquarters. Later they were sent to Romanian families who were paid 200–600 EUR/month, and used the teens as free labour. Annually, 30 children were sent to the camp.