In an international operation yesterday specialized measures were taken at eleven European airports targeting potential travelling sex offenders.
This European operation was planned and executed by Europol Child Sexual Exploitation Team within the Operations Department, in joint cooperation with police, customs and border authorities in Austria (Vienna/Schwechat), Bulgaria (Sofia and Burgas), Finland (Helsinki/Vantaa), France (Paris/Roissy Charles de Gaulle), Hungary (Budapest/Liszt Ferenc), the Netherlands (Amsterdam/Schiphol), Slovenia (Ljubljana/Joze Pucnik), and the United Kingdom (Stansted, Birmingham, East Midlands, Cardiff, London City and Luton).
Several EU Member States and countries with operational agreement with Europol (e.g. Romania, Spain and Switzerland) participated with enhanced information exchange possibility or were prepared for checks on passengers in transit from selected flights to other EU countries. The Liaison Bureaux network that consists of the Europol Member States and countries with Europol cooperation agreement was prepared for the speedy data exchange. Europol assisted the Netherlands, France and the United Kingdom with a Europol Mobile office and Forensic support on the spot.
Those persons targeted were primarily arriving, either on direct or transit flights, from destinations known for ‘child sex tourism’ - countries and cities to which European paedophiles travel to engage in child sexual exploitation. More specifically, the authorities checked and profiled returning passengers and conducted interviews.
Yesterday’s day of action also had the purpose of raising awareness amongst the public and those who travel to countries where vulnerable and poor people are abused by Europeans who think they can get away with their illegal and deplorable violations because it’s happening outside the home country’s boundaries and Europe.
Europol launched Project HAVEN – Halting Europeans Abusing Victims in Every Nation in November 2010. The project aims to detect and disrupt travelling sex offenders originating from the EU that exploit children both inside and outside Europe.