Reported by: USA Today
Ukraine refugees face risk of human trafficking
As millions of women and children flee across Ukraine’s borders in the face of Russian aggression, concerns are growing over how to protect the most vulnerable refugees from being targeted by human traffickers or becoming victims of other forms of exploitation. (March 12) AP
European authorities arrested over 130 people suspected of being involved in human trafficking and identified over 130 possible victims in an operation that spanned across 22 countries, they announced on Tuesday.
In a joint operation with the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, also known as Europol, European border agency Frontex and the International Criminal Police Organization, police in 22 countries made the arrests from June 6-13, Europol said in a press release.
Europol said over 22,480 officers took part in the operation, with checks done on “European sea, land, and air borders, with an additional focus on heavily (utilized) routes into Europe.” In total, nearly one million people were checked by authorities in 13,500 locations.
In addition to the arrests made, authorities said they identified 60 additional suspects and 220 forged documents. Of the 130 possible victims of human trafficking identified, Europol said “more than a dozen” were minors.
Countries that were part of the operation included the United Kingdom, Germany, Greece, Spain, Sweden and Ukraine, among others.
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The news of the operations comes the same day as police in the U.K. and other European countries announced the arrest of people inmultiple countries suspected of smuggling migrants to Britain on small boats.
In a statement, the Britain’s National Crime Agency said the operation targeted “criminal networks suspected of using small boats to smuggle thousands of people into the U.K.” French judicial authorities said the operation targeted a “major organized crime group” that allegedly facilitated people-smuggling across the English Channel from France to Britain.
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