Criminal gang behind trafficking in human beings for sexual exploitation dismantled

20 May 2015
Press Release
Press Release/News

This News/Press release is about Trafficking in Human Beings

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As a result of coordinated operational activities carried out in the framework of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT), Romanian and French law enforcement authorities, supported by Europol and Eurojust, have dismantled a Romanian organised network which trafficked young Romanian women for sexual exploitation.

On 19 May 2015, Romanian National Police carried out an extensive law enforcement operation targeting human trafficking in the Constanta region and another three locations. This operation resulted in 56 simultaneous house searches and 25 suspects taken into custody. During the operation, 11 victims were identified and interviewed by law enforcement authorities. EUR 20.000, 12 luxury vehicles, 88 mobile telephones, 79 SIM cards, 25 computers, jewellery, steroids and drugs were seized. French law enforcement authorities and Europol participated in this operation, supporting Romanian authorities on the spot with the deployment of experts and one of Europol’s mobile offices. Approximately 300 Romanian law enforcement officers were involved.

At the same time, law enforcement authorities in France carried out 3 searches of premises in various locations. These searches resulted in the identification and arrest of 3 suspects.

The criminal group has been the subject of a cross-border investigation since 2014 and trafficked young women from Romania to France, where they were sexually exploited in hotels and other premises. The victims were controlled by members of the group who regularly demanded information on the number of customers serviced and the amount of money earned by the victims.

The group members had specific tasks and roles in the criminal activity; the services of the victims were advertised online; the victims were frequently moved from city to city and accommodated in hotel rooms for short periods of time before being moved again.

The organised criminal network generated proceeds of up to EUR 4 million, invested in real estate in Romania.

Europol and Eurojust supported the Member States involved in this cross-border human trafficking operation throughout the investigation. Both agencies facilitated police and judicial cooperation in the framework of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) which brought together authorities from France and Romania. Throughout the investigation, operational and coordination meetings were held at Europol and Eurojust.

Europol experts provided operational analysis to assist the investigation, as well as support in the field operation through the deployment of a mobile office to Romania. Europol’s on-the-spot support allowed for real time cross-checks of data on the action day. At the same time, Eurojust set up a Coordination Centre at its HQ.