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Across Europe, gay migrants face abuse in asylum shelters
by Kirsten Grieshaber and Mike Corder
Alaa Ammar fled Syria to escape not just civil war but also the threat of persecution as a gay man. Yet when he arrived in The Netherlands last spring, he did not find the safe haven he craved.
He and four other gay travelers had to face newly arrived asylum seekers at a migrant center in the remote northern town of Ter Apel.
"After five minutes, they started looking. After 10 minutes, they started to talk. After one hour, they came to us," said Ammar, a slender 28-year-old in tight jeans and with a diamond-like stud in each ear. "After three hours, they started fighting with us."
Across Europe, gay, lesbian and transgender migrants say they suffer from verbal, physical and sexual abuse in refugee shelters, and some have been forced to move out. The AP found out about scores of documented cases in The Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, with the abuse usually coming from fellow refugees and sometimes security staff and translators.
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