On 10 October 2017, the French National Police, in coordination with the German Bundespolizei and with the support of Europol, have dismantled an organised crime group involved in the illegal smuggling of Indian nationals into Europe.
The network was involved in facilitating irregular migration, forging official documents, and labour exploitation. As a result of this joint operation, 6 suspects – thought to be the ring leaders – were arrested in France, and a further 8 in Germany.
The investigations revealed that the organised crime group used a travel agency in the country of origin in order to arrange for the migrants’ departure to Europe. The travel agency supplied visas to migrants from the Gujarat region (India) by sending them to consulates using fake supporting documents. The price for such a service varied from EUR 7 000 for one person to EUR 25 000 for a family.
Once the visas were obtained, the network would arrange for the victims travel to the suburbs of Paris. They were then transported to Eastern Germany, where they were forced to work for a very low pay, overstaying the legal duration of their tourism visa.
During the action day, Europol deployed a mobile office to France to support the operation with on-the-spot intelligence analysis. Europol also facilitated the exchange of intelligence throughout the investigation, as well as providing analytical support.