Organised crime group specialised in sexual exploitation dismantled
0n 24 August, in Ploieşti, Romania, Romanian and UK authorities* conducted 18 house searches of members of an organised crime group specialised in trafficking of women for sexual exploitation. Eight suspects were detained, 18 premises were searched and assets were seized.
Investigations revealed that between 2015 and 2016, the suspects recruited several young females from Prahova County in Romania, whom they brought to the UK for the purpose of sexual exploitation. The suspects booked and paid for transport for the women and provided accommodation in 10 UK cities (Portsmouth, Southampton, Norwich, Cambridge, Oxford, Ilford, Plymouth, Exeter, London and Cardiff). Every month, these apartments were switched to make identification more difficult. The sexual services of the women were promoted on dedicated websites in the UK, and half of the profits from their services were taken by the suspects.
Eurojust and Europol provided assistance from the beginning of the investigations in Romania and the UK. Eurojust opened a case in April 2016, which led to a Eurojust coordination meeting in June, and the signing of a joint investigation team (JIT) agreement, funded by Eurojust, between the UK and Romanian judicial and law enforcement authorities in July.
Figures at a glance
- Number of house searches: 18
- Number of freezing/seizure orders: 27
- Number of hearings of witnesses and suspects: 40
- Number of detained suspects: 8
- Assets seized: five vehicles, GBP 9 300, EUR 5 700, 52 kg of tobacco, 200 unstamped cigarette packages, mobile telephones, IT systems, as well as forged IDs and financial/banking documents.
For questions relating to the involvement of Member States, please contact the relevant national authorities*.
*RO: DIICOT Prosecutor’s Office, Ploieşti Territorial Office, Brigade for Combating Organised Crime Ploieşti and Special Operations Directorate of the Romanian Police; UK: Regional Organised Crime Unit ‘ZEPHYR’
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