The Hague – European police have raided brothels and sex shops across the continent in a bid to identify Nigerian people-trafficking networks luring and trapping women into prostitution, Europol said on Friday.
The operation was led by German police but also saw brothels raided in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland, said a statement from Europol, which is based in the Hague.
Europol said the aim was to identify people trafficked from West Africa and obtain information on human traffickers.
“More than 468 West Africans, mainly women, were controlled and identified in the countries involved,” the statement said, adding that Police in 12 German states “carried out checks on brothels and similar properties,” the statement said.
“These first European control measures are another important step towards establishing the complex crime structures that are difficult to unravel in the field of trafficking human beings from West Africa,” German federal police commissioner Joerg Ziercke was quoted as saying.
Europol said it was analysing the operation’s results “to help identify key figures in human trafficking in Europe and establish possible criminal organisational structures.”