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Reveal: The Smuggler

Helen Tseng for Reveal
While covering the refugee crisis in France, French radio reporter Raphael Krafft met desperate families on the border and decided to help. Reveal follows Krafft as his moral compass leads him on the journey of a lifetime.

Reveal In 2015, French radio reporter Raphael Krafft was covering the refugee crisis in France, which like the U.S. is closing its borders to refugees. 

On a reporting trip to Italy, he was confronted by a refugee who asked him to help his family cross the border into France.

As a journalist, Krafft was supposed to be objective, but the plight of the family and other refugees he met compelled him to get involved.

In this episode of Reveal, he recounts what happened next and how it changed the course of his career and life. First, we meet Krafft, a war correspondent who’s covered conflicts around the world for 20 years. He’s witnessed suffering and has met countless desperate people, but seeing this crisis unfold in his own country moves him to action.

One day at the French-Italian border, Krafft meets a Sudanese man named Ibrahim, who is desperate to get to France so he can apply for asylum. But the French border is closed. Krafft decides to smuggle Ibrahim and a friend into the country.

To evade border police, they travel by foot – over the Alps. A year after the border crossing, Krafft reunites with Ibrahim and his friend Ahmad to check on their asylum status and see how they are adjusting to their new life in France.

Reveal is a weekly radio program produced by The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX.

For more, check out our website and subscribe to our podcast.

Julia B. Chan is the digital editor for Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting.