The Hague, 14 June 2019
The French and Romanian authorities, in close cooperation with Eurojust and Europol, dismantled an organised group (OCG) involved in the trafficking of 13 female victims for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Eurojust actively supported the joint action day, which led to the arrest of 13 suspects, including one of the main leaders of the OCG, and 15 house searches. Coordinated by Eurojust, the national authorities seized 2 luxury cars, 14 mobile phones and 18 SIM cards, as well as 2 computers, jewelry and cash. The estimated total value of the criminal proceeds is €1.2 million. Eurojust facilitated the issuing of European Arrest Warrants by the French authorities, which were executed in Romania, Germany and Italy. Eurojust helped to resolve another case of sexual abuse last week.
In the last three years, women and girls recruited from Romania were victimised by alleged boyfriends and sexually exploited in France and several other EU Member States. The members of the OCG, most of whom are repeat offenders, are accused of having committed the crimes of trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation, participation in a criminal organisation, as well as pimping and money laundering.
The Specialised Jurisdiction (JIRS) of Rennes and the Craiova Territorial Office of the Directorate for the Investigation of Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) initiated parallel national investigations into the OCG. To avoid potential conflicts of jurisdiction, Eurojust held two coordination meetings to exchange crucial information on the case and agree on a clear prosecutorial strategy. Eurojust also helped the national authorities by swiftly executing mutual legal assistance (MLA) requests between various Member States and actively following up on their execution. National authorities from Hungary and Slovakia were involved in the search of one of the suspects, enabling the Italian authorities to arrest him.
To advance the national investigations, a joint investigation team (JIT) was set up, which was financially and logistically supported by Eurojust. Europol participated in the JIT, providing analytical support to the authorities, and assisted the police operations during the joint action day. 150 French officers from the Gendarmerie of Rennes and 60 Romanian officers from the Craiova Brigade for Combating Organised Crime, as well as the Craiova Mobile Gendarmerie and Special Action Service, were deployed during the simultaneous operations.
Photo © DIICOT - Poliția Română