Nationwide raids targeting organized smuggling of migrants in Germany

The German federal police have carried out raids in several cities to combat organized migrant smuggling.

Starting at 6 am (0400 GMT) on Monday, 33 properties were simultaneously searched in Berlin, Hamburg and the states of North Rhine Westphalia, Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony as well as in the Slovakian capital Bratislava, a spokesperson for the Criminal Investigation Department said in Berlin.

Around 700 officers were deployed, with the main focus of the operation in Berlin.

One of the two main suspects, a Vietnamese national, was arrested there. Another arrest was made in Bratislava.

According to the spokesperson, the women are accused of professional smuggling. They are alleged to have smuggled people from Vietnam to Germany via flats in Slovakia.

“Smuggling wages” of 13,000 to 21,000 euros (15,850-25,600 dollars) were demanded, the spokesperson said.

The people concerned were then forced to work off the resulting debts in nail or massage studios or in so-called brothel flats, police said.

According to the spokesperson, the operation was carried out on behalf of the Berlin Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Leipzig Public Prosecutor’s Office. This was embedded in investigations by Europol.

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