SPANISH POLICE arrest 64 people traffickers in a huge international operation
As part of an Interpol-led international operation against networks of human traffickers moving immigrants illegally from Africa to Europe, the Central UCRIF of the National Police have arrested a total of 64 people in Spain. The National Police reported to Spanish daily El Plural on Friday, April 9, that the ‘Weka operation’ has investigated alleged traffickers in a total of 24 countries throughout the European and African continents, which has culminated in the arrests of 195 people. In addition, 767 illegal immigrants have been intercepted by authorities while 477 victims of human trafficking have been rescued.
This enormous international operation required Spain to work closely with officials in Portugal and France so that the land borders could be continuously monitored; some 18,000 vehicles were searched while trying to cross the Spanish border during the course of the investigation. Additionally, a dedicated monitoring centre was set up at the Barajas airport in Madrid, where agents believed most of the individuals being trafficked would attempt to enter Spain. Even though foreign travel has been severely restricted during the coronavirus pandemic, more than 30 flights were tracked as part of the operation, with 5,000 queries relayed back to Interpol as a result.
In all, five major organisations specialising in trafficking and trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation were brought down as a result of the operation, as reported by El Plural.
During 2020, more than 40,000 illegal immigrants travelled from West Africa and Morocco into Spain and many of those did so by taking a risky trip to the Canary Islands on a flimsy boat. Many of these immigrants have risked their lives in order to head to Europe for a better life. It is currently feared that with the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic more Africans will be tempted to make the dangerous journey over to Spain.