Major countrywide operation Several people in custody after raids in Beuel

Beuel · More than 100 people have been arrested after a Germany wide raid against traffickers and forced prostitution. Two buildings were also searched in Beuel.

Police forces have been acting against organised crime since early this morning in the largest search and entry measures in the history of the federal police. Christian Große-Onnebrink, press spokesperson for the federal police, said the operation was directed against forced prostitution, exploitation and trafficking crimes.

Police are also searching a property on Kreuzstraße in Beuel. Around 20 federal police officers have been on duty there since around 6am. Several personnel carriers are at the scene of the operation but roads have not been closed.

Three residents – two men and a woman – were taken into custody after the search, said Große-Onnebrink. He emphasised that they had not been arrested. They would now “be subject to identification procedures.” The police then searched a second house on Kreuzstraße. Two further women were found there, said the spokesperson. It was learned at the scene that the women probably came from South America.

When asked whether further properties in Bonn were searched besides those in Beuel, the spokesperson did not give any information “for tactical operational reasons.”

A total of around 1500 officers are taking part in the operation countrywide and 62 brothels and apartments are being searched. The GSG9 (the elite police tactical unit of the federal police) is also taking part. According to police information, the raids are about forced prostitution of Thai women. 17 suspects are part of the heart of the group, said police. More than 100 people in total were detained and seven arrest warrants were executed.

According to the chief public prosecutor’s office, the main suspects are a 59-year-old Thai woman and her 62-year-old partner. Police said the couple lives in Siegen.

The group is alleged to have smuggled women and transsexuals to Germany under forged visas so they could work as prostitutes all over the country.

According to investigators, they must give nearly 100 per cent of their wages to the operator of the massage studio in question in order to pay off their debt to the traffickers. This is said to have regularly amounted to between 16,000 and 36,000 Euros. An investigation into the group has been running since February 2017.

The victims had to hand over any money earned to their abusers, said a spokeswoman for the federal police department in Stuttgart on Wednesday. There are 17 main suspects countrywide. The prostitutes are said to have been handed from brothel to brothel.

(Original text: Translation: kc)

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