European police arrest 130 people on suspicion of smuggling migrants to UK
Police across Europe arrested over 130 suspect migrant smugglers in what has been labelled as the biggest ever international operation of its kind.
The suspects are accused of trafficking thousands of people across the English Channel to the UK in small boats.
Britain’s National Crime Agency said six people were arrested in the Docklands and Catford areas of London. Dozens of raids also took place in Germany, France and the Netherlands.
French judicial authorities said that the Europe-wide operation targeted a “major organised crime group”.
Police in the German city of Osnabrück said 18 people were arrested in northwestern and southwestern Germany on suspicion of involvement after more than 900 police officers carried out 36 searches.
Europol said in a statement that law enforcement officials identified “around 130 potential victims” of migrant smuggling — including more than 10 children — in the operation.
“Many fall victim to sexual exploitation, forced begging or different types of forced criminality, including petty crimes and drug trafficking. They also become victims of labour exploitation and domestic slavery.”
Extra than 22,480 law enforcement officials took component in the [joint] movement days, at some stage in which assessments were accomplished at european sea, land, and air borders, with an additional awareness on heavily utilised routes into europe,” europol brought. Greater than 28,000 migrants crossed the channel to the uk closing year, as compared to simply eight,500 in 2020.