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219 Monsters Behind Bars & 1,374 Human Trafficking Victims Identified: Inside Operation ‘GLOBAL CHAIN’



219 Monsters Behind Bars & 1,374 Human Trafficking Victims Identified: Inside Operation 'GLOBAL CHAIN'

In a massive coordinated effort to combat human trafficking, law enforcement agencies from 39 countries participated in a week-long operation that resulted in the arrest of 219 perpetrators and the identification of 1,374 victims, including 153 children. The joint action, codenamed ‘GLOBAL CHAIN,’ took place between June 3 and 9, targeting high-risk criminal networks involved in sexual exploitation, forced criminality, and forced begging.

Led by Austria and co-led by Romania, the operation saw collaboration between Europol, Frontex, and INTERPOL, along with police forces and border guards from several continents. This year’s focus was on identifying and disrupting the most threatening criminal networks active in the European Union, including mafia-type, ethnicity-based, and family-based organizations.

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Key Outcomes of Operation ‘GLOBAL CHAIN’:

  • 362 suspects identified
  • 219 perpetrators arrested
  • 1,374 victims identified and assisted (1,221 adults, 153 children)
  • 2,074 criminal assets seized
  • 363 fraudulent documents detected
  • Over 276 new investigations initiated

The operation’s multidisciplinary approach proved successful, building on previous iterations to target various aspects of human trafficking. Law enforcement agencies conducted targeted activities within their respective countries and collectively for a week, aiming to raise awareness about this heinous crime.

Coordination Center in Warsaw

To facilitate cross-checking of data and information exchange between participants, a coordination center was established at the Frontex headquarters in Warsaw, Poland. Experts from participating countries, along with personnel from Frontex, Europol, and INTERPOL, helped coordinate the large-scale action week, which received support from the EU4FAST project.

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Notable Operations Across the Globe

Hungary: In a particularly disturbing case, officers arrested a couple for forcing six of their own children into sex work and begging. The children were physically, mentally, and sexually abused by their parents and have since been placed under foster care.

Romania: The Galati Brigade for Countering Organized Crime arrested a suspect for recruiting underage victims from disadvantaged backgrounds, forcing them into begging and sexual exploitation.

Ireland: The National Police conducted an awareness campaign, engaging with thousands of train passengers in Dublin to educate them about human trafficking indicators.

Ukraine: Authorities dismantled an organized criminal group that forced twelve victims into begging. In a separate case, a person was arrested for forcing a disabled individual into marriage to defer military mobilization.

Vietnam: A human trafficking scheme involving a Chinese interpreter working for a company in Laos was uncovered. The operation lured 14 Vietnamese individuals with false promises of high-paying jobs, only to force them into creating fraudulent online accounts for financial scams.

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International Cooperation and Future Implications

The success of Operation ‘GLOBAL CHAIN’ highlights the importance of international cooperation in combating human trafficking. By involving law enforcement agencies from multiple continents, the operation was able to target criminal networks operating across borders, demonstrating the global nature of this crime.

The identification of new trends, such as human trafficking for forced online fraud, underscores the need for continued vigilance and adaptation of law enforcement strategies. As criminal networks evolve their tactics, international cooperation and information sharing become increasingly crucial in staying ahead of these threats.

The operation’s focus on child victims and the most threatening criminal networks shows a targeted approach to dismantling the most harmful aspects of human trafficking. By safeguarding victims and initiating hundreds of new investigations, Operation ‘GLOBAL CHAIN’ has dealt a significant blow to human trafficking networks worldwide while paving the way for future operations and increased public awareness.

As the fight against human trafficking continues, operations like ‘GLOBAL CHAIN’ serve as a powerful reminder of the impact that coordinated international efforts can have in combating this global issue and protecting vulnerable individuals from exploitation.


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