Hundreds of Chinese women has been hold captive and forced to work as prostitutes around Europe, by an international human trafficking ring.
More than 200 victims have been identified, but the real number is believed to be much higher.
Tuesday February 7, European police led an operation against an international circle of human traffickers. The operation took place after a three-year investigation, Europol announced on Wednesday.
So far 30 people have been arrested. Among those arrested are five people considered to be of high importance by Europol. The five arrested are supposedly involved in several major cases in Europe.
According to police, the investigation has shown that hundreds of women were lured to Europe with the promis of respectable work.
The perpetrators used different Chinese messaging apps to trap their female victims. The women were then smuggled to Europe with false identity papers. Afterwards they were forced to work as prostitutes to pay off their debts.
The traffickers would advertise for the women online and then ‘install’ them in different hotels around Europe – switching their victims between the European countries.
Over the course of the three-year investigation, more than 3,000 online advertisements linked to the prostitution ring have been monitored by law enforcement.
According to AFP, the organization kept most of the income itself, as the false identity papers increased the women’s dependence on the traffickers.