NEWS

European sex racket broken

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – European police forces have arrested 38 people in a swoop on traffickers suspected of forcing women and children into the sex trade, the EU’s police agency Europol said yesterday. Greece, which handed over the rotating six-month European Union presidency to Italy this month, spearheaded the cross-border operation. EU members Greece, Italy and Portugal joined forces with 10 southeastern European countries in 134 investigations against 110 suspected traffickers. The arrests, the bulk of which were in Romania, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Greece, were made in May in an operation codenamed «Leda.» Details of the international swoop were not released until now for operational reasons. «The target areas were… in particular, the Balkans, where an increase has been noted in the trade of women and minors into the EU member states for the purpose of sexual exploitation,» Europol said. Other countries that took part in the police operation were Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Hungary, Slovenia, Serbia and Montenegro.