Belgian Federal Police, supported by Europol, have carried out an extensive anti-human trafficking operation in the centre of Brussels, to identify potential victims of trafficking in human beings (THB) and to build intelligence on the Nigerian criminal networks involved in the phenomenon.
During the night of 10 and 11 December 2013, the Anti-trafficking Investigation Unit of the Federal Judicial Police in Brussels ran an operation in the red light district of the city. The aims of the action were the detection of criminal activities associated with THB in the country, the identification and the protection of victims of trafficking exploited in the sex industry, with a focus on Nigerian nationals. The operation also had the objective of improving the existing intelligence picture concerning Nigerian trafficking networks operating in Belgium and other EU countries.
The activities, which have been carried out for several years by the Federal Judicial Police of Brussels and aiming to detect criminal prostitution networks, are part of a regular and well-defined commitment by Belgian authorities in the framework of an operational sub-project known as ‘Etutu’, of which Belgium is an active member. This operational project, led by Germany, is developed and supported under the EMPACT* project on THB, and is aimed at comprehensively tackling Nigerian human trafficking networks operating across the EU. It is backed by 13 participating countries.
Europol supported the Belgian Police in this operation by deploying its mobile office to Brussels to provide on-the-spot assistance through real-time cross-checks and intelligence analysis of a significant quantity of data gathered from the operation. This data will help to improve the intelligence picture of the criminal networks involved in trafficking in human beings (THB) in the EU.
* The European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats (EMPACT) is part of the intelligence-led policing approach to tackle organised crime. It identifies priorities and establishes an international team-work approach to bring down criminal groups that threaten EU security.