24 suspects arrested in EU-wide action week against child trafficking

14 August 2018
Press Release
Press Release/News
  • An EU-wide action week against child trafficking  across 22 Member States
  • 24 suspects arrested
  • 51 children and 72 adults identified as potential victims of trafficking

During the week of the 2nd July, law enforcement officers from 22 Member States*, other European countries and partner agencies actively participated in an EMPACT THB Action on Child-trafficking. As a result of the action 51 children and 72 adults were identified as potential victims of trafficking. The youngest child was only two 2 years old. The children were exploited for labour, forced begging and sexual purposes.

Several links to migrant smuggling and document forgery were also identified. 45 new cases have been initiated. 24 suspects were arrested for THB offences and a further 61 suspects were arrested in relation to other crimes.

The actions focused mainly on hotspots for sexual exploitation, forced begging and forced criminality (e.g. pickpocketing and minor thefts), and intensified activities at border crossing points. As the identification of victims of trafficking in human beings remains very challenging, particularly the identification of child victims, many participating countries also undertook prevention and awareness raising activities.

* AT, BG, CH, CY, DE, ES, HR, IE, LT, LV, NL (through FRONTEX JOINT OPERATION VEGA CHILDREN), PT, RO, SI, SK, UK and FRONTEX.

EMPACTTrafficking in human beings is one of the EMPACT priorities under the 2018-2021 EU policy cycle. Europol’s Analysis Project Phoenix deals with different forms of exploitation, with current priority areas linked to sexual and labour exploitation, forced criminality and begging, forced marriages, child trafficking and human organ trafficking.