As a result of coordinated and joint operational activities, authorities from Slovakia and the UK, supported by Eurojust and Europol, have dismantled an organised criminal group involved in trafficking Slovak victims for the purposes of sham marriages and sexual exploitation.
Last week, house searches were performed in Glasgow by Police Scotland. Europol specialists were deployed on the spot to support the national authorities. As a result, five suspects were arrested and detained in police custody. Sixteen women - potential victims of trafficking - were also identified and were offered care and assistance by a specialised NGO.
A significant amount of evidence (numerous travel documents, computer equipment, mobile telephones and cash) was seized during the operation, and will be used for further investigation.
This joint action was preceded by extensive and complex investigations supported by Eurojust and Europol.
Two days ago, the second phase of this coordinated operation took place in Trebisov, Slovakia, where four search warrants were executed and four arrests were made.
The modus operandi of this organised criminal group was to recruit vulnerable women from challenging socio-economic backgrounds by deception, promising them attractive and well-paid jobs abroad, and then forcing them into sham marriages and prostitution.
Europol actively supported this human trafficking operation and provided operational and analytical support to Slovakia and the UK throughout the investigation. Europol specialists in THB delivered real-time cross-checks of the data gathered using a mobile office and data extraction device during the actions.
Eurojust and Europol facilitated judicial and police cooperation within a joint investigation team, bringing together efforts from both Member States. Several operational and coordination meetings were held at Europol and Eurojust.
For questions relating to the involvement of Member States, please contact the relevant national authorities.