Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Rwandan singer amongst terror plot suspects

Read more

DEBATE

What's Putin's Plan? Kiev Accuses Russia of Terrorism

Read more

FOCUS

Campaigning against Bouteflika's re-election... in France

Read more

WEB NEWS

Chile: Online mobilization to help Valparaiso fire victims

Read more

ENCORE!

Art, sex, money, memory and manga

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Spat over Iran's UN ambassador hampers thawing relations with US

Read more

FOCUS

China trade deal: Is Taiwan's identity under threat?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Call it a caretaker government'

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria's Battles

Read more

  • Frantic search for survivors of sunken South Korea ferry

    Read more

  • Crunch talks on Ukraine in Geneva

    Read more

  • Algeria heads to the polls: ‘This election has nothing to do with us’

    Read more

  • Man executed in Texas for 2002 triple murder

    Read more

  • Scandal-hit French doctor Jacques Servier dies at 92

    Read more

  • Belgian head of wildlife reserve shot in DR Congo

    Read more

  • Stagehand of God? Maradona's legendary goal inspires a play

    Read more

  • US rolls out red carpet for French critic of capitalism

    Read more

  • N. Korea not amused by London hair salon's Kim Jong-un ad

    Read more

  • Real Madrid beat old foes Barcelona to lift Copa del Rey

    Read more

  • France's new PM targets welfare in drive to cut spending

    Read more

  • Campaigning against Bouteflika's re-election... in France

    Read more

  • Brazil club Mineiro cancel Anelka signing after no-show

    Read more

  • Syria 'torture' photos silence UN Security Council members

    Read more

  • Paris laboratory loses deadly SARS virus samples

    Read more

  • More than 100 schoolgirls kidnapped in northeast Nigeria

    Read more

  • New York police disband unit targeting Muslims

    Read more

  • 'Miracle girl' healthy after seven-organ transplant in Paris

    Read more

  • Paris police memo calling for Roma eviction ‘rectified’

    Read more

  • Burgundy digs into France's bureaucratic 'mille-feuille'

    Read more

  • French court drops ‘hate speech’ case against Bob Dylan

    Read more

  • Algeria rights crackdown slammed ahead of election

    Read more

  • Iraq closes notorious Abu Ghraib jail over security fears

    Read more

  • In ‘Tom at the Farm’, Xavier Dolan blends Hitchcock and homoeroticism

    Read more

Europe

Police beak-up human trafficking ring

© AFP/Spanish police

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-08-11

French and Spanish police have arrested 75 suspects, including two Barcelona based "main operatives", allegedly part of a human trafficking ring that smuggled Chinese migrants into Europe and the US.

Spanish and French police said Saturday they have dismantled a human trafficking ring that smuggled Chinese migrants into Europe and the United States, charging up to 50,000 euros per person.

A total of 75 suspects including two "main operatives" based in Barcelona were arrested, including 51 in Spain and 24 in France after a two-year joint investigation, a police statement said.

The traffickers charged 40,000 to 50,000 euros ($53,000 to $66,000) per person to provide "false identities and transport Chinese citizens to the United States and countries such as Spain, France, Greece, Italy, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Turkey," the statement said.

In some cases the ring was involved in the sexual exploitation of migrants, it added.

Spanish police seized 81 fake passports from Asian countries such as Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The investigation into the ring, described as "complex", began in July 2011.

"The composition of this perfectly structured, hierarchical organisation, with its kingpin in China and independent cells operating in different countries, completely shut off from each other, complicated the investigation," the police statement said.

The traffickers accompanied their clients all the way from China to Spain, "the last stop (serving as a) trampoline to the final destination, usually the United Kingdom or the United States," it said.

The operatives, mainly from China and Malaysia, had the "complete confidence" of the ringleaders and were "thorough connaisseurs of the European airports and cities along the route of the transfers," the statement said.

Once their mission was accomplished they would return home immediately, "in order to make it more difficult to track them," police said.

Upon the migrants' arrival in Barcelona, operatives of the trafficking ring would meet them and take them to safe houses before they embarked on the next leg of their journey.

The route taken from China, as well as the travel documents used, "changed constantly according to the successes and failures of previous trips... or in order to prevent discovery of the traffickers," the statement said.

The migrants were given precise instructions on how to avoid detection at customs controls, such as trying to blend in with groups of tourists.

The two top suspects were arrested in Barcelona, while another 49 were picked up in Spanish airports including those of Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga and Mallorca, plus another 24 in France.

The 81 fake passports were found in two lodgings owned by the ring in Barcelona.

There police also found equipment for forging documents including portable computers, scanners, around 20 fake customs stamps and an electronic magnifier.

Police also provided pictures of a firearm, cellphones and wads of cash, both euros and yuan, that were seized in the operation.

The European Commission warned in a report issued in April that the problem of human trafficking was worsening across the bloc.

It signalled an 18 percent increase from 2008 to 2010 in identified and presumed victims of trafficking in the then 27-nation EU, with the total reaching 23,632.

More than half of the victims -- 61 percent -- were from EU nations, most often Romania and Bulgaria, with Nigeria and China as the most common countries of origin outside Europe.

In a 2010 report, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime described human trafficking as "one of the most lucrative illicit businesses in Europe", estimating gains through sexual exploitation and forced labour alone at around 2.5 billion euros per year.

(AFP)

Date created : 2013-08-10

  • USA

    US charges Saudi princess with human trafficking

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)