Eight Arrested in Joint Operation Targeting Human Trafficking Network

Image credit, Berthold Bronisz

Brussels, Belgium – In a joint operation supported by Europol and Eurojust, authorities in Belgium and Hungary have dismantled a criminal network involved in human trafficking for sexual exploitation.

The operation, which took place in mid-February, resulted in the arrest of eight suspects: four Belgians, one French national, and one Hungarian national were apprehended in Belgium, while one Belgian and one Hungarian national were arrested in Hungary.

During the raids, authorities seized numerous assets believed to be linked to the criminal activity, including:

  • 16 high-end vehicles
  • Luxury goods such as jewelry and watches
  • Digital equipment and mobile phones
  • €40,000 in cash

In addition to the arrests, the operation successfully identified and secured the safety of several potential victims in both Belgium and Hungary.

Europol played a key role in facilitating information exchange, providing operational analysis and intelligence, and coordinating the activities between the involved authorities. Additionally, Europol deployed experts to both countries to offer on-site support during the operation.

The investigation leading to this operation began in February 2023 at the request of the Belgian authorities. Eurojust established a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) comprised of Belgian and Hungarian investigators in May 2023, further facilitating international cooperation throughout the investigation.

This successful operation demonstrates the collaborative efforts of law enforcement agencies and international organizations in tackling the complex and devastating issue of human trafficking. The identification and rescue of potential victims signifies a crucial step towards their safety and recovery, while the arrests aim to disrupt the operations of this criminal network and bring those responsible to justice.