The Balkan route is officially closed, but for some refugees and migrants, Serbia still offers a path to western Europe -- even if it means using smugglers. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
They wait. They pass the time any way they can -- as they hope for a new future in Europe. Refugees gather in a park in central Belgrade -- they hope to meet smugglers who offer a future. The Balkan route is officially closed. But for growing number -- Serbia still offers a path to their dream of a better life in western Europe. And it's a dream that comes with a price tag of up to 2600 Euros says Muhammad Haidjan from Iraq. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) REFUGEE FROM BAGHDAD, IRAQ, MUHAMMAD HAJDJAN, SAYING: "I can pay it, but I don't want to spend all my money on this. People are losing their money on the this. The smugglers take their money and their phones, and they leave." More than 650,000 people trudged through Serbia last year on their way to the European Union. At one border crossing in Hungary, a small number of Syrian families are allowed through. Others wait and hope. Refugees in Serbia pitch tents along the border. They wait for white bags of food distributed by aid agencies. They go on with their lives, hoping to soon move on from what seems like an endless wait.