May 20, 2018

Romanian THB ring disrupted in France















A joint action day on 19 June in France and Romania led to 23 arrests (13 in France and 10 in Romania) for suspected involvement in a human trafficking ring and participation in a criminal organisation.

In 2011, French police became aware of thefts committed on the Metro in and around Paris by young adult and underage Romanian nationals. The level of these crimes peaked in 2015 and 2016, when France hosted very large international events (the Paris Climate Change Conference (CPO 21) and the Euro football competition).

Young potential thieves, belonging to family clans from Iasi and Roman in Romania, were regularly trafficked from Romania to France. The thieves reside in one building in Saint-Denis, and are supervised by adult organisers. Every morning, between 6:00 to 10:00, groups of children and young adults leave the building to commit crimes on the Metro.

The action was led in France by the Brigade for the protection of minors of Paris, conducted by an investigative judge, and in Romania by the Directorate for Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism, Iasi Territorial Office, and Brigade for Combating Organized Crime, as well as Border Police Iasi. Of the 39 suspects identified, 31 are minors. The value of the stolen goods is estimated at approximately EUR 600 000 since 2011.

Preparations for the action day were made possible by the signing of a joint investigation team (JIT) agreement between France and Romania, funded and supported by Eurojust.

Human trafficking ring dismantled by Spanish and Bulgarian authorities

A large-scale joint investigation, run by the Spanish and Bulgarian judicial and law enforcement authorities, and supported by Eurojust and Europol, has resulted in the dismantling of an international organised crime group involved in trafficking young Bulgarian women to Spain for the purpose of sexual exploitation. In the coordinated action week between 26 June and 30 June, 34 individuals were arrested (26 in Spain and 8 in Bulgaria), and 13 victims of sexual exploitation were safeguarded.

The criminal group operated in Spain and Bulgaria for at least six years, taking control of the prostitution industry in Torremolinos and Marbella, Spain. They recruited vulnerable women in Bulgaria, transported them to Málaga and forced them to practice prostitution in the Marbella area of Puerto Banús. The gang used violence and threats against the victims and their families. The victims were also forced to steal their clients’ cash, credit cards and other valuable objects, sometimes by spiking the clients’ drinks. The objects were channelled to local pawnshops linked to the criminal group, and converted into cash, which was used either to purchase high-value cars or transported back to Bulgaria.



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