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Nine members of an international human trafficking network were arrested on Tuesday, Europol announced. Law enforcement and judicial authorities of Bulgaria, Belgium, France and Poland conducted a joint operation coordinated by Europol and the European Union's Judicial Cooperation Unit (Eurojust).
The network was trafficking young Bulgarian women who were taken to countries of the European Union, including Belgium and France, for sexual exploitation. Members of the trafficking network collected the money earned by forced prostitution and transferred it to Bulgaria through Western Union for investment purposes.
The investigation began in France in October 2010, and subsequently expanded to the other participating countries. According to Europol, "given the mobility of perpetrators, the involvement of Poland and Belgium in the coordinated action became necessary." The raids against the trafficking group took place in all four countries, and the authorities seized a large amount of documentation to be used as evidence.
Mariana Lilova, the Eurojust National Member for Bulgaria, commented that "Simultaneous operations were carried out in three different regions in Bulgaria, which required a high level of commitment and coordination from our national authorities."
French police officers participated in the raids carried out in Belgium, Bulgaria and Poland, in order to "facilitate direct cooperation" between the four countries. Three of the suspects were arrested in Bulgaria.
HOST AN EVENT ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Helping victims of human trafficking is as simple as talking to a friend. Host an event and invite the community to discuss the exploitation of human beings. At this campaign, we are eager to spread the word and we'd like to talk at any community event about human trafficking and victim identification.
For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
-Trafficking in Persons Report 2016 -- Complete Report (PDF)
-Introductory Material (PDF)
-Country Narratives: A-C (PDF)
-Country Narratives: D-I (PDF)
-Country Narratives: J-M (PDF)
-Country Narratives: N-S (PDF)
-Country Narratives: T-Z and Special Case (PDF)
-Relevant International Conventions/Closing Material (PDF)
These are some of the things you can do to help fight human trafficking:
Be informed! Educate yourself about human trafficking by reading about it. Follow events in the news. Keep your eyes open - human trafficking is happening all around us.
Raise awareness! Talk to friends, family and colleagues. You could even start talking to your local politicians and authorities.
Get involved! Participate in an anti-trafficking movement in your area and get involved in its activities and campaigns (e.g. hold events, distribute posters, leaflets etc.) in your neighborhood and in schools.
Encourage businesses! Be a responsible consumer! Inform yourself on the labour policies of companies to ensure their products are free from slave labour and other forms of exploitation. If possible, buy fair trade products.
Seek support! If you suspect that someone has been trafficked report it to the institutions or assistance facilities dealing with human trafficking in your area.
"It ought to concern every person, because it is a debasement of our common humanity. It ought to concern every community, because it tears at our social fabric. It ought to concern every business, because it distorts markets. It ought to concern every nation, because it endangers public health and fuels violence and organized crime. I’m talking about the injustice, the outrage, of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name -- modern slavery."
– President Barack OBAMA