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Europe-wide operation saves sex trafficking victims

July 25, 2017

A massive operation coordinated by Europol has saved 910 potential victims from likely trafficking and sexual exploitation. Nearly 125,000 people were searched over the course of a week.

German police conduct raids at locations suspected of possible sex trafficking and exploitation.
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/P. Zinken

Law enforcement agencies across Europe carried out massive coordinated operations against organized criminal groups involved in trafficking and forced sexual exploitation, leading to the arrest of 107 people, Europol said on Monday.

Hundreds saved

The Austrian-led operation, conducted between 26 June and July 2, led to 910 potential victims of trafficking being identified.

Twenty-two countries participated in the Europe-wide operation, in which nearly 125,000 persons, 6,000 vehicles and 4,000 locations such as red-light districts, brothels and massage parlors were checked.

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"Special attention was given to the online environment, used as a means to advertise victims of sexual exploitation," Europol said in a statement.

Europol said the week-long operation confirmed the prevalence of trafficking networks originating from Nigeria, South America and Eastern Europe.

cw/kl (dpa, EFE, Lusa)