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Austrian police uncover a group of human trafficking suspects

13-5-2022 |

More than 200 people suspected of human trafficking have been detained in five European Union countries - Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Romania.

Austrian police have detained a criminal smuggling gang allegedly responsible, among other things, for the deaths of two migrants from asphyxiation.

A total of 205 people suspected of human trafficking have been taken into custody in Austria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Romania, Austrian Interior Minister Gerhard Karner said on Thursday, May 12.

It is assumed that they had smuggled more than 36,000 people from Hungary to Austria.

The migrants, most of whom were Syrians, paid between 3,000 and 4,500 euros per person, said Johann Baumschlage, an Austrian police spokesman. According to Austrian Interior Minister Karner, the criminals earned a total of about 152 million euros.

According to the police, the migrants were taken to Vienna, from where many of them intended to reach Germany and France with the help of other smuggling groups.

A major success in the fight against the smuggling mafia

"This is one of the biggest successes in the fight against the smuggling mafia in recent years," Carner said of the internationally coordinated investigation.

"For these gangs, human life is completely irrelevant; it's about profit, greed, and brutal mafia methods," the minister stressed.

In October 2021, police stopped a car near the Austrian-Hungarian border carrying about 30 people, two of whom were dead. The driver fled the scene, but was later detained in Latvia and extradited to Austria.

Authorities believe the organization is also responsible for the shooting of a border guard in January who tried to stop another vehicle for inspection. The suspected driver was taken into custody in Hungary.

Source: DW