Czech, Finnish and Hungarian authorities have succeeded in dismantling a criminal network suspected of operating an international prostitution ring of which many victims and perpetrators were reportedly from the Czech Republic, Europol informed this week.
The victims, mostly from the Czech Republic, were trafficked for sexual exploitation in Finland and other Scandinavian countries. During the operation, coordinated by Europol and Eurojust, police arrested 13 people and identified more than 90 victims, Europol said in a statement.
Officers also seized €200,000 in cash, four luxury cars, three apartments, 40 mobile phones, four laptops, four tablets, a shotgun and ammunition. Eight bank accounts were also frozen.
“The investigation concerning the results of this operation is still ongoing, as more than 400 victims of Czech, Hungarian and Romanian nationality were counted in total,” Europol added.
Czech criminal network members, believed to have earned at least €3.3 million, acted as coordinators and offered the victims’ services on websites.
“Perpetrators could book the victims in advance, while rotation systems – also known as ‘sex tours’ or ‘carousels’ – allowed for the exploited victims to be offered in various locations,“ the police organisation described.
The investigation into the well-organised criminal network, capable of operating remotely from various locations, but mostly in the Czech Republic and Finland, began in August 2021.
According to the Czech News Agency, Jaroslav Ibehej, a spokesman for the Czech National Centre against Organised Crime (NCOZ), recently said that Czech police were prosecuting eight people in connection with the organisation and operation of sex services in the Czech Republic and Finland.
Czech police said that the perpetrators transported the women to places of prostitution in Czechia or Finland, advertised their services on erotic internet portals, communicated with their customers and paid for their accommodation and flights abroad. The perpetrators also split part of the girls’ earnings among themselves.
(Ondřej Plevák | EURACTIV.cz)
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