A Belgian-Romanian international operation carried out yesterday in Belgium has led to the arrest of four individuals suspected of trafficking young women for the purpose of sexual exploitation, and the seizure of one luxury car.
Europol specialists in trafficking in human beings (THB), equipped with a mobile office, were deployed in Belgium to deliver real-time cross-checks of data gathered during the action. Romanian authorities also deployed specialised THB officers who supported the operation on the spot.
This successful operation follows an extensive and complex cross-border investigation that was conducted simultaneously in both Member States. Investigators targeted a Romanian organised criminal group (OCG) actively involved in trafficking Romanian individuals for the purpose of sexual exploitation in Belgium.
The investigations revealed an organised recruitment process of vulnerable young women, who had been subsequently transferred to Belgium. They were lodged in short term rental apartments and sexually exploited in red light districts in various Belgian cities. The members of the OCG had previously been involved in violent criminal activities.
Europol actively supported Belgium and Romania throughout the investigation, which included facilitating information exchange between the two countries, and operational analysis. Europol also financially supported several operational meetings between Belgian and Romanian investigators.