Germany-wide police raids target alleged worker trafficking

Dec 8, 2021, 1:07 AM | Updated: 8:24 am

BERLIN (AP) — German police and customs officers conducted dozens of raids across the country Wednesday and arrested at least nine people in a crackdown on the alleged human trafficking of temporary workers from outside the European Union.

Federal police in Berlin tweeted that the raids started at 7 a.m. local time (0800GMT). The police agency said officers searched homes and businesses, focusing on the German capital and surrounding Brandenburg state but also locations in Bremen and Lower Saxony states.

Authorities said they were investigating around 20 suspects for suspected involvement in allegedly forging EU citizenship documents and placing the workers, most of them from Ukraine and Moldova, with large logistics companies.

The federal police and prosecutors said that more than 2,200 police and customs officers were involved in the raids coordinated and led by the general prosecutor’s office of Berlin..

Among the people arrested were eight men men between the ages of 32 and 62, and a 42-year-old woman. The names of the suspects and the companies where the workers were assigned were not released in line with German privacy rules.

Authorities are investigating on suspected charges of trafficking foreigners, forgery of documents, organized illicit work and illegal employment.

The suspects allegedly operated a network of temporary employment agencies in the Baltics and in Germany, including dummy companies, according to federal police in Berlin.

Through these companies, the suspects then allegedly passed off temporary workers from non-EU countries as EU citizens using forged identity documents. The suspects allegedly retained the money that the logistics companies paid as wages for the temporary workers, dpa reported.

“The investigations suggest that up to 1,000 employees may have entered the local labor market through the network of companies operated by the gang,” prosecutors and federal police said in their statement. “In connection with the searches, the task forces encountered 275 persons whose residence status is unclear and who are suspected of unauthorized residence and unauthorized employment.”

Searches were carried out in 12 German states in all, including in the apartments of the suspects, in their businesses, at logistics centers and in the living quarters of the workers allegedly trafficked to Germany.

Police seized assets worth 19 million euros ($21.5 million), German news agency dpa said. They included national and international accounts, properties, vehicles and other luxury goods. Investigators also seized 90,000 euros in case, as well as documents, cellphones and electronic data.

“It is incredibly perfidious to want to make money from people’s hardship, to shamelessly exploit their helplessness and desire for a better life,” dpa quoted Berlin’s police union as saying.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Republican presidential candidates, from left, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, former New Jers...

Associated Press

3rd Republican presidential debate is set for Nov. 8 in Miami, with the strictest qualifications yet

The third Republican presidential debate will be held in Miami on Nov. 8, a day after several states hold off-year elections.

5 days ago

During the equinox, the Earth’s axis and its orbit line up so that both hemispheres get an equal ...

Associated Press

The fall equinox is here. What does that mean?

The equinox arrives on Saturday, marking the start of the fall season for the Northern Hemisphere. But what does that actually mean?

5 days ago

Ray Epps Ray Epps, an Arizona man who became the center of a conspiracy theory about Jan. 6, 2021, ...

Associated Press

Ray Epps, an Arizona man who supported Trump, pleads guilty to Capital riot charge

Ray Epps, the target of a conspiracy theory about the Jan. 6, 2021, attack, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge.

8 days ago

Former President Donald Trump repeatedly declined in an interview aired Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023, to ...

Associated Press

Trump refuses to say in a TV interview how he watched the Jan. 6 attack unfold at the US Capitol

Former President Donald Trump repeatedly declined in an interview aired Sunday to answer questions about whether he watched the Capitol riot.

11 days ago

This frame grab from video, provided by the Mexican government, shows Ovidio Guzman Lopez being det...

Associated Press

Mexico extradites son of ‘El Chapo,’ Ovidio Guzman Lopez to US

The son of notorious cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, Ovidio Guzman Lopez was extradited to the U.S. on Friday.

11 days ago

impeachments in US history...

Associated Press

A look at notable impeachments in US history, including Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was acquitted Saturday on during his impeachment trial. Here's a roundup of impeachments in U.S. history.

12 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Home moving relocation in Arizona 2023...

BMS Moving

Tips for making your move in Arizona easier

If you're moving to a new home in Arizona, use this to-do list to alleviate some stress and ensure a smoother transition to your new home.


Ignite Digital

How to unlock the power of digital marketing for Phoenix businesses

All businesses around the Valley hopes to maximize their ROI with current customers and secure a greater market share in the digital sphere.



At Ability360, every day is Independence Day

With 100 different programs and services, more than 1,500 non-medically based home care staff, a world-renowned Sports & Fitness Center and over 15,000 people with disabilities served annually, across all ages and demographics, Ability360 is a nationwide leader in the disability community.

Germany-wide police raids target alleged worker trafficking