Belgian and English police arrest Albanian human trafficking gang
Friday, 27 September 2019
In total, eight houses were searched, seven of which in Ghent. Credit: Pixabay
Police have arrested 15 suspects of human trafficking, on 23, 24 and 25 September, concluding a Belgian federal police investigation into a human trafficking gang that transported Albanian people to the United Kingdom, announced the public prosecutor’s office.
The police were aware of human trafficking along the Belgian motorways E17 and E40 after several gangs had been arrested by the Federal Judicial Police of the East-Flanders province, but this gang worked with the knowing involvement of the (truck) drivers.
This happened with cars or trucks equipped with specialised storage places that could hide one or two people on their way to Ghent, where they arranged to cross over to the UK.
In order to dismantle the gang, the East-Flandres police cooperated with the National Crime Agency in the United Kingdom. The main target, a 29-year-old Albanian man, was arrested close to Ghent on 23 September. During the subsequent house search, a second suspect was found.
In total, eight houses were searched in Belgium, seven of which in Ghent, one in the Antwerp municipality of Deurne. 37 Albanian people were found who were waiting to make the crossing to the UK, as well as a small amount of cannabis and hashish.
Two more people were arrested in the United Kingdom, and a third suspect was found by local police in Germany.
In total, 12 suspects were arrested and four cars were taken into custody in Belgium. Five of the suspects arrested in Belgium were placed under an arrest warrant, the seven other suspects were released while awaiting trial. The three people arrested in England and Germany will be extradited to Belgium because of the European Arrest Warrant filed by the Ghent judge.