Tuesday September 26, 2023

Global swoop nets more than 200 suspected traffickers

June 02, 2023

THE HAGUE: A huge operation targeting human traffickers across 44 countries has netted 212 suspects and identified almost 1,500 victims, many of them children, EU policing agency Europol said on Thursday. The Austrian and Romanian-led Operation Global Chain took place between May 8 and 15 and included police, immigration, and border authorities as well as child and social protection services, Europol said. The operation focused on “organised crime groups involved in trafficking in human beings, in particular child trafficking, sexual exploitation, forced criminality and forced begging,” it said in a statement.

The swoop, in which some 1.6 million people were checked, 25,400 locations and 153,500 vehicles were searched, looked at traffickers exploiting victims from South America, Asia, Africa, the western Balkans and Ukraine. Colombian authorities arrested seven suspects and identified 27 women victims of sexual exploitation, while in North Macedonia, 11 suspects were arrested for sexually exploiting minors and human trafficking.

In Serbia, six suspects were arrested for sexually exploiting 10 women, while in Sweden, investigators identified five under-aged boys who were forced to beg on the streets. Many of the trafficking victims were children, a crime which Europol said remained under-reported.