Eurojust has supported the Romanian and Dutch authorities in an action against sexual exploitation of young female victims in the Netherlands and other European countries. During an action day, five suspects were identified by the Romanian authorities for involvement in an organised crime group (OCG), trafficking in human beings for sexual exploitation, pimping, organised property crime and money laundering. A total of eight places were searched in both countries and a further thirty individuals were heard as part of the case.
The suspects used the so-called ‘loverboy’ method, approaching young female victims from disadvantaged backgrounds, promising them good job prospects in the Netherlands and other EU countries. In reality, the victims had their identity documents taken away and were forced into prostitution. This method of trafficking in human beings is a phenomenon used by similar OCGs operating from Romania.
The suspects had no other main forms of income and transferred their illegal profits to Romania via money transfers, before spending it on luxury cars, drugs and gambling. During the action day, luxury vehicles, phones, bikes, weapons and money were seized. The identified suspects have been placed under preventive measures in Romania.
Eurojust supported the national authorities involved, including by setting up a coordination centre for the action day, and assisted in the preparations by organising seven coordination meetings. The Agency also assisted with the transmission and execution of European Investigation Orders.
Investigations into the OCG were led by the Directorate for Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT), of the Galati Territorial Office. The Directorate is a specialised structure established in 2004 within the Prosecution Office of the High Court of Cassation and Justice of Romania for combating and investigating organised crime and terrorism and other serious offences.
A total of 24 police officers from the Brigade for Combating Organized Crime of Galati were deployed in Romania, with support from the Galati County Police Inspectorate, the County Inspectorate of the Gendarmerie and the Department for Special Operations. In the Netherlands, the operation was carried out by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of The Hague and the National Police.