Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) The EU Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) reported roughly 130 arrests as part of a joint operation in 22 countries.
The agency pointed out in a statement that the operation targeted human trafficking as well as identified approximately 60 new suspects, DW reports.
It stressed that more than 22,000 officers took part in the operation, performing checks at land, air at sea borders and monitoring popular routes into the EU. They checked roughly 13,500 locations and close to one million people as part of the operation.
German police pointed out in a report on Tuesday that it took part in a joint operation against human trafficking, stressing that hundreds of officers carried out raids in Baden-Württemberg, Bremen, Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia.
German authorities described the joint action as a “large-scale operation” as part of the “fight against people smuggling.”
The report noted that police in Belgium, France, the UK and the Netherlands also took part in the operation, with Osnabrück district police spokesperson noting that the operation targeted international smuggling efforts.
The spokesperson pointed out that earlier media reports connecting the operation with human trafficking from the EU to the UK via the English Channel were “not wrong.”
According to Osnabrück police, the joint operation was carried out in coordination with Europol and Eurojust.
France called for help
At the end of 2021, French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin called on Belgium, Germany and the UK to help France fight against human trafficking.
He made the appeal after a boat full of illegal migrants capsized, killing 27 in the English Channel. Authorities arrested five suspects and noted that one had a vehicle registered in Germany.
Darmanin later pointed out that many human trafficking activities started in France’s neighbours in Western Europe.
Europol pointed out that the operation was aimed against child trafficking and added that it was carried out in the first half of June and coordinated by EU Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex).
It noted that the operation helped to launch more than 100 new investigations and identified more than 130 possible victims of human trafficking, of which some confirmed as minors.