“A tenacious network, quite sprawling, extremely structured and lucrative. “ And, undoubtedly, one of the most important cases in terms of human trafficking from Eastern European countries closed in Paris in recent years. The pimping repression brigade (BRP) of the Paris judicial police (PJ) has, on Tuesday 1is June, dismantled an international prostitution network, the level of sophistication of which surprised investigators.
Six months of investigation were necessary to put down an agile network, which was able to take advantage of a windfall: the many seasonal rental apartments left vacant in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis. In total, sixteen people have been arrested since December 2020; six of them were imprisoned, the others were left free under judicial supervision. Twenty-five victims were counted – a figure probably lower than the reality.
The criminal assets seized amount to 92,000 euros in cash, two apartments located in the heart of the beautiful districts of the capital, in the 7e and 17e arrondissements and… an electric scooter. In total, some 3 million euros were entrusted to the Agency for the Management and Recovery of Seized and Confiscated Assets (Agrasc).
To move up the chain, the police did not only deploy the usual surveillance and significant technical investigation resources. They also had to rely on the international cooperation of the Ukrainian and Latvian authorities, in particular, from where the network managers operated.
Spotted on social networks
The young women, aged 18 to 25, enjoyed an excellent social and cultural level in their country of origin. They were often students at prestigious universities and, for one of them, in the fifth year of medicine. But they were also vulnerable and targeted as such: dependent child, seriously ill parent … The promise of high income was intended to force their hand and accept a deal which, according to their statements to investigators, they did not. ignored nothing.
Spotted through their accounts on social networks, they were approached by profiles, often false, of alleged women living in Western European countries, offering them to work there for a – very – comfortable remuneration. From then on, an incredibly complex logistics chain was set in motion.
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