In a press release, the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, or Europol, announced the results of a European-wide joint operation against the trafficking of minors for sexual exploitation, forced begging, and labour exploitation. Law enforcement authorities from 15 EU member states (Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom), Iceland, and Switzerland participated in an operation led by the United Kingdom and supported by Europol.
According to Europol, during the Joint Action Days campaign, which lasted seven days in June, the authorities checked more than 127,000 individuals, 63,800 vehicles, and 1,100 locations, including ‘private properties, commercial establishments, hotels, buses and train stations, ferry ports, airports and border crossings’. Police raids led to over 30 arrests in relation to human trafficking, and 36 arrests for robbery, dissemination of child sexual exploitation material, and facilitation of illegal immigration. Out of the 206 potential victims, the authorities identified 53 minors.
These law-enforcing measures were backed by various anti-trafficking experts, child protection officers, social workers, municipalities and non-governmental organisations. Additionally, authorities from participating countries developed and initiated a series of prevention campaigns in schools on the subject of human trafficking and its risks to minors.