Thanks to rapid judicial cooperation via Eurojust, nine members of a Romanian Organised Crime Group (OCG) have now formally been charged in Romania and Finland for human trafficking, inciting prostitution and money laundering. The suspects were arrested during an action day in May this year in Romania and Finland, where they allegedly ran a network for the sexual exploitation of around ten female victims, who have been returned to safety. The Romanian and Finnish National Desks at Eurojust enabled the opening of investigations in Finland and assisted in setting up a joint investigation team (JIT), funded by the Agency.
The suspects recruited young female victims from poorer rural areas of Romania for sexual exploitation in Finland, often under false pretenses. During the action day, 14 places were searched and six luxury cars, one property, mobile phones, laptops, receipts of money transfers and EUR 45,000 in cash were seized. Trials will already be under way before the end of this year.
The investigations in Finland were opened last year, at the request of the Romanian authorities. Apart from setting up the JIT, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Eurojust organised two coordination meetings to prepare for the action day and to ensure the further judicial cooperation necessary.
The operation on the ground was led in Romania by the Directorate for Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism - Craiova Territorial Service and the Brigade for Combatting Organised Crime of Craiova. In Finland, the operation was coordinated by the Southern Finland Prosecution District in cooperation with the Helsinki Police Department and executed during the action day by the police authority.