The operation, carried out by the GDBOP, the District Prosecutor’s Office – Pleven, the London Police and the Crown Prosecution Service, was carried out under the coordination of Eurojust and Europol
Actions against an organized criminal group carrying out human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation have been undertaken by law enforcement authorities in Bulgaria and Great Britain, with the support of Eurojust and Europol.
During the operation carried out on April 26, 9 suspects were detained, 8 searches were carried out – four each on the territory of our country and the United Kingdom. Various items and objects, cash and expensive cars related to the case, worth more than 1.1 million euros, were found and seized. The five identified victims of criminal activity have been granted protection and assistance.
The investigation into the criminal network began in the UK in November 2021. The suspects targeted and recruited vulnerable Bulgarian women and transported them to the UK, with the victims being forced into prostitution and drug distribution in and around London. According to initial data, the proceeds of criminal activity were laundered through business and movable and immovable property in Great Britain and Bulgaria.
Europol has been assisting the case since 2021 through the exchange of information between law enforcement authorities and the analysis of data acquired, and an agency official has been seconded to Bulgaria during the operation to assist the investigation. At Eurojust, the case was opened in January 2022 at the request of the UK authorities. In June, the agency supported the creation of a joint investigation team between the two countries. Coordination meetings were held to clarify legal cooperation and prepare the joint and simultaneous operation.