German Police Bust Massive Human Trafficking Ring in Series of Raids
There were around 1,000 police officers involved in the raids
German police and customs officers undertook a massive series of raids across the country in a crackdown on human trafficking.
The raids started at 7 a.m. local time (0800GMT), according to federal police in Berlin.
Officers searched homes and businesses, making a focus on the German capital and surrounding Brandenburg state and on-premises in Bremen and Lower Saxony.
There were around 1,000 police officers involved in the raids investigating around 20 suspects for alleged involvement in forging EU citizenship documents and placing workers with large logistics companies.
Several arrest warrants were executed and seized assets worth millions of euros (dollars), dpa said.
The names of the suspects were not released in line with German privacy rules.
The raids were coordinated and led by the general prosecutor’s office of Berlin.
Germany-wide police raids target alleged worker trafficking - The Washington Post: German police are conducting raids across the country to crack down on the alleged human trafficking of temporary workers from outside the ... https://t.co/vbQGvd0M6v #organizedcrime #slavery— Monicatwit (@MonicavanDelden) December 8, 2021
Suspects reportedly operated a network of temporary employment agencies in the Balkans and in Germany, including dummy companies, federal police in Berlin said.
Suspects used the companies to pass off temporary workers from non-EU countries as EU citizens with fake documents and placed them with large German logistics companies.
The money the company paid wages for the workers was retained by the suspects, DPA reported.
Investigations are being conducted on the following charges:
- Trafficking foreigners
- Forgery of documents
- Organized illicit work
- Illegal employment
Searches were carried out in 12 German states, including apartments of the suspects, in their businesses, living quarters of the workers allegedly trafficked to Germany, and logistics centers.
Berlin’s police union said in a statement:
“It is incredibly perfidious to want to make money from people’s hardship, to shamelessly exploit their helplessness and desire for a better life."
According to Reuters:
Federal police, Berlin’s public prosecutors and customs office were due to hold a news conference on the results of the raids later in the day.
In 2019, following a nationwide raids on illicit employment and exploitation at subcontracting delivery firms, Germany approved a law to force logistics and ecommerce companies that outsource deliveries to ensure that their subcontractors pay proper social security contributions for their drivers.