Europol has launched a new campaign to show that women are just as capable of committing serious crimes as men. Several of the females on the list are wanted for murder, child abuse, or trafficking drugs and people.
Europol on Friday named its most wanted female fugitives as part of efforts to track down those responsible for some of Europe's most serious crimes.
The European Union's law enforcement agency's "Crime Has No Gender" campaign revealed the identities of the most wanted person from 21 EU member states, of which 18 are women.
The suspects face a range of charges including murder, human and drug trafficking, child abuse and financial crimes.
Among them are Zorka Rogic, who is wanted in Croatia in connection to drugs and arms trafficking offenses, Nigerian Jessica Edosomwan who is accused of being part of a human smuggling ring that lured 60 women to France and forced them into prostitution, and Polish national Dorota Kazmierska, who failed to begin her 25-year prison sentence for a 2008 murder.
"People think that usually these crimes are not being committed by women, but they are and they are equally as serious as those committed by men," Europol spokeswoman Tine Hollevoet told the Agence France-Presse news agency.
The interactive campaign on Europol's website initially shows the suspects hidden by spooky neon masks before their faces are revealed.
"The idea is to attract as many visitors as possible, with experience showing us that the more eyes that look at the wanted fugitives, the higher the chance to locate and arrest the wanted person," Hollevoet added.
Europol told DW that while its "most wanted" web page receives an average of 12,000 visits per day, during campaigns this often rises to several hundred thousand.
'Name and shame' works
The agency said leads could be sent anonymously via the website, or directly to investigators in the EU state hunting the fugitive. It said that previous 'most wanted' campaigns had netted 69 criminals on the run — some of whom turned themselves in after being exposed.
Europol also said that while many academic researchers have explored how gender plays a role in crime, the majority of studies have targeted the gender of the victim rather than the perpetrator.
The agency said the number of women involved in criminal activities has increased in recent years and called for more research on whether law enforcement policies should be adapted in order to reduce crimes by females.