Over 2 dozen arrested, $1.6M seized in bust of alleged Chinese prostitution ring in Europe

Over 2 dozen arrested, $1.6M seized in bust of alleged Chinese prostitution ring in Europe
via Europol
Carl Samson
February 8, 2023
A total of 28 suspects — 27 in Belgium and one in Spain — have been arrested in connection with a global sex trafficking ring that has victimized hundreds of Chinese women across Europe, according to reports.
The arrests follow similar operations against members of what authorities believe to be the same group. Last May, seven suspects were taken into custody in Switzerland, according to Europol.
A three-year investigation into the alleged prostitution ring found Chinese women were being lured to Europe with the promise of legitimate jobs. 
The recruiters would then allegedly falsify documents, smuggle their victims and ultimately hold them in debt, which they would pay off by working as prostitutes.
Belgium’s Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office wrote in a press release, as per The Brussels Times:

The criminal organization recruits women in China and transfers them to Europe, where they are forced into sexual exploitation – often for private prostitution. The organization uses online rental platforms, hotels, or holiday homes where appointments can be made via specialized websites for sex advertisements.

More than 3,000 online ads linked to the ring were uncovered during the course of the investigation. The victims were allegedly rotated throughout Europe.
Of the 27 suspects arrested in Belgium, three were Belgian, while the rest were Chinese citizens. 
Nine have been charged with human trafficking and money laundering.
Police also seized 1.5 million euros (approximately $1.6 million) in cash in the raids that took place in Brussels, Antwerp, Charleroi, Louvain and Neufchâteau. Additionally, they found four tons of coins with an unspecified value.
Meanwhile, 20 alleged trafficking victims, all of whom were Chinese, were found in the raids. 
They have since been taken to a special reception center, the Associated Press reported.
So far, authorities have identified over 200 victims in the scheme, with the actual number expected to be higher. Investigation into the ring continues.
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