Action week against human trafficking: 323 potential victims identified, 46 suspected traffickers arrested

27 May 2019
Press Release
Press Release/News

This News/Press release is about Trafficking in Human Beings

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23 EU Member States[1], Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, supported by Europol, conducted an extensive operation targeting trafficking in human beings for the purpose of labour exploitation. This coordinated action, which took place between 8 and 14 April 2019, is part of the EMPACT operational action plan on trafficking in human beings for 2019.

Experts from law enforcement agencies, labour inspectorates, immigration services, tax authorities, social inspections services and other competent authorities joined forces to identify and investigate the labour exploitation of vulnerable workers. The action targeted different business sectors, such as transportation, agriculture, construction, food processing, catering and care provision. Participating countries adopted a multidisciplinary approach at national level that resulted in the identification of cases of trafficking in human beings, as well as violations of the labour legislation, use of forged documents and other offenses.

This extensive and targeted mobilization of resources involved the checking of more than 50.000 individuals, over 17.000 vehicles, as well as the visit of 5000 business premises and other locations. The action week resulted in the arrest of 46 suspects and the identification of 90 individuals suspected of human trafficking. A further 227 persons were detained or arrested for other offenses, including illegal immigration and forgery of documents. In total, 323 potential victims of trafficking were identified. This intense operational activity has led to the launch of 100 new investigations, aiming at the identification of other suspects and victims linked to human trafficking cases across the EU.

Europol contributed to the preparation of the operational activity and facilitated competent authorities with information exchange and real time checking of the information generated in the field against the Europol’s centralised databases. Europol will continue to support Member States to further develop internationally the investigations that were triggered during the action week.

[1] Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Croatia, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Malta, Sweden, UK