German security forces conduct raids targeting human trafficking

German security forces conducted a series of raids across the country as part of investigations into people smuggling and forced sex work.

Early on Wednesday, federal police conducted large-scale raids in several states targeting an alleged people-smuggling ring, which is said to have brought at least 58 people, including children, into Germany illegally, a police spokesperson said.

Those people, who paid between 3,500 and 8,000 euros (4,165-9,520 dollars) for their journeys, were at times left in lorries or transporters for several days, police said.

Police had found several of them, including five children, in the eastern town of Bernstadt and subsequently launched an investigation together with Europol.

Several people were arrested under suspicion of people smuggling as part of the raids.

In a separate investigation, federal police forces searched several buildings in Berlin, Hamburg and the coastal town of Timmendorfer Strand, including nail salons and massage parlours.

The case regards alleged smuggling of women from Vietnam to Germany who were then reportedly forced into sex work, police wrote on Twitter.

“We have indications the locations were also used as brothels,” a police spokesperson said.

A 43-year-old Vietnamese woman was arrested in Berlin. Two other suspects are involved in the case, police said.

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