Human TraffickingNews

Twenty-five victims of sexual exploitation identified in Romania and Spain

Lured into prostitution with the ‘lover boy’ method, the victims were exploited in night clubs in Spain

The Romanian Police (Poliția Română) and the Spanish National Police (Policía Nacional), supported by Europol and Eurojust, dismantled a criminal network involved in human trafficking for sexual exploitation. The investigation resulted in two action days, one in Spain in February 2021 and one in Romania in June 2021.

The two actions led to:

  • 16 house searches (12 in Romania and 4 in Spain)
  • 13 arrests (6 in Romania and 7 in Spain, 8 of whom were Romanian and 2 Spanish nationals)
  • 25 victims (24 Romanian nationals and 1 Bulgarian national) identified in Romania (9) and Spain (16)
  • Seizures include digital equipment and mobile phones, 5 bank accounts and over € 40 000 in cash

The organised crime group – with branches in Romania and Spain – was luring victims into prostitution with the so-called ‘lover boy’ method. The victims were sexually exploited in night clubs in Spain. To avoid detection, the criminal group did not use money transfer services. Instead, Romanian gang leaders smuggled the cash out of the country themselves. The suspects also did their best to avoid using regular mobile networks and traveling by plane.

Europol coordinated the operational activities, facilitated the exchange of information and provided analytical support. Europol financed the deployment of two Spanish agents in Romania for operational meetings and participation in the action day.