Thousands of refugees have gone into hiding in Sweden since the country’s asylum laws went from some of the most welcoming to some of the toughest in Europe. VICE hears from this ever-growing parallel society.
In this episode of VICE Reports, host Milène Larsson discovers the emergence of a growing parallel society in Sweden, as increasing numbers of denied asylum seekers who fear deportation go into hiding. The stakes for these people are much higher since it was revealed that the terror attack in Stockholm on the 7th of April was committed by a denied asylum seeker.
In the film, Milène meets refugees and the ordinary Swedish people who are opening up their homes to hide them, and finds out about the civilian networks organising across Sweden to help those no longer under the protection of the authorities. She also meets an MP from the far-right Sweden Democrats (now the second biggest party in Sweden) who wants to make it a punishable crime to hide refugees, as well as the head of the Swedish border police, who expects an additional 40,000 denied asylum seekers to go into hiding in the coming years – not including undocumented migrants.
No one knows the true scale of this parallel society, and Sweden will struggle with the consequences of the enforced social exclusion for decades to come. However, while Sweden might be the country where this trend is most apparent, it's important to remember that it's not just an issue here, but a new reality across all of Europe.