The German federal police carried out an operation on Dec. 8, 2021, where they arrested ten out of twenty individuals accused of trafficking people who were recruited through employment agencies and sold to logistics companies.
German federal police, in conjunction with customs officials and a special anti-terrorism unit, raided several locations in Berlin and Brandenburg, arresting nine men and one woman and seizing $21.5 million in assets.
In 12 German states, police searched more than 50 premises, including logistics centers related to the investigation, suspects’ apartments and temporary workers’ accommodations.
Due to German privacy policies, the names of the companies and suspects have not yet been published while the investigation is still open.
According to the German news agency DPA, a total of 1,000 federal agents were deployed in the operation.
The human trafficking ring was involved in recruiting foreigners through a labor agency and then sending them to work for large logistics companies. The suspects then kept the foreigners’ wages.
The human trafficking ring ran temporary employment agencies in the Balkans and Germany, including fictitious companies.
The suspects smuggled in foreign temporary workers as EU citizens using false identity documents and placed them with large German logistics companies through these fake companies.
The suspects retained the money these companies paid as wages to the temporary workers.
“It is incredibly perfidious to want to make money from people’s hardship, to shamelessly exploit their helplessness and desire for a better life,” the Berlin police union said in a statement, according to Breitbart.
Subsequent reports by German media outlet, DW related to this human trafficking ring, indicate that the victims come mainly from Vietnam via operational offices in Slovakia. It appears to be a vast and lucrative black market for Asian human trafficking in Germany, mainly in Berlin.
Traffickers charge fees of between $15,850 to $25,600. The trafficked women were made to pay their fees with work in nail salons, massage studios and “specially furnished brothel apartments.”
Berlin city “has seen repeated raids for people smuggling, and Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) described Lichtenberg as a ‘pivotal point’ for Vietnamese human traffickers in Western Europe,'” police said in a statement. Behind it, they said, was “a huge network” that turns over “enormous sums.”