A total of 33 suspected traffickers have been arrested in an operation under the auspices of the EU police cooperation Europol. In addition, 45 other suspects have been identified.
This year’s operation against human trafficking in children in Europe has led to a total of 175 arrests and findings of 187 potential victims, of whom 92 were under the age of 18, Europol stated.
A wide range of police authorities participated in the effort, as well as immigration authorities, border authorities, labor inspectorates, social services, and child welfare services.
Trafficking in children is an underreported problem, Europol noted in a press release. Criminals often force children to beg or commit various crimes, such as smuggling illegal goods.
The focus this year was on unaccompanied minors or minors who had disappeared from crisis and reception centers, as these are often more vulnerable. Several such children were discovered at border crossings, including between the EU and Schengen countries.
In Europe, the vast majority of children are sold into human trafficking by family members, while minors from countries outside Europe are more often the victims of refugee smugglers, who cooperate with other adults who accompany the children on their journey to Europe.
The Europol operation took place between June 28 and July 4 and included a total of 18 European countries.
Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews