EU FUNDING helped a task force of Spanish and Romanian police rescue 25 victims of sexual exploitation in both countries.
All had been lured into prostitution using the ‘lover boy’ method, with victims were exploited in Spanish night clubs.
Supported by Europol and Eurojust, the Romanian Police (Poli?ia Român?) and the Spanish National Police (Policía Nacional), dismantled a criminal network involved in human trafficking for prostitution.
Investigation resulted in two days of house raids, months apart, in Spain and in Romania.
The two actions led to:
- 16 house searches (12 in Romania and 4 in Spain)
- 13 arrests (6 in Romania and 7 in Spain, 8 of whom were Romanian and 2 Spanish nationals)
- 25 victims (24 Romanian nationals and 1 Bulgarian national) identified in Romania (9) and Spain (16)
- Seizures include digital equipment and mobile phones, five bank accounts and over €40,000 in cash
The organised crime group – operating in both countries – avoided detection by ignoring traditional electronic money transfers.
Instead, they smuggled huge amounts of cash in and out of both countries themselves.
The gang also preferred to avoid using regular mobile networks or travelling by plane in order to evade authorities.
Europol coordinated the operational activities, exchanging important information and analytical support.
Europol financed the deployment of two Spanish agents in Romania for operational meetings and participation during the raids.
What is Europol?
The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, better known as Europol, was formerly the European Police Office and Europol Drugs Unit.
It is the law enforcement agency of the European Union (EU) formed in 1998 to handle criminal intelligence and combat serious international organised crime and terrorism through cooperation between competent authorities of EU member states.
The Agency has no executive powers, and its officials are not entitled to arrest suspects or act without prior approval from competent authorities in the member states.
Seated in The Hague, it comprised 1,065 staff in 2016