Spain: 75 Arrested In Human Trafficking Ring
Spanish and French police arrested 75 suspected smugglers and forgers believed part of a human trafficking gang. The main operatives were in Spain as were 51 of the suspects.
Police seized 81 false passports from various East Asian nations all made in China. The suspects were reported to be Asian, according to CNN.
The arrests actually were made in June, however the case was kept secret until Sunday. A two-year investigation which began in July 2011 went after a structured, hierarchical organization that had a , kingpin in China and independent cells operating in different countries. Each was shut off from the other, which complicated the investigation, police said.
The smugglers charged from USD $53,000 to USD $66,000 per person. Chinese migrants were assigned false identities and travelled along with smugglers to destinations in Europe and North America. Most went through Spain with Barcelona Airport used as a main hub. The smugglers prepared false documents while the migrants were in Spain.
Destinations included Spain, France, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Turkey, and most commonly the United States and the United Kingdom.
The gang reportedly switched airports on short notice and returned to China after operating to avoid detection. Migrants were given specific instructions on how to avoid detection such as blending in with tourists.
Authorities reported that in some cases the migrants were sexually exploited.