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15 arrested in Bosnia, France over human trafficking network

A beggar in Paris. File.
A beggar in Paris. File. AFP/ Philippe Huguen

Seven members of a human trafficking network were arrested on Tuesday in Bosnia and eight in France. They allegedly forced Bosnian women and children to beg and steal in the streets of several French cities.

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“The operation takes place in the Zenica region (centre), in Jajce (centre), in Vlasenica (east) and in Prijedor (north). Seven were arrested and house searches and inspections are ongoing and a similar operation is underway in France,” a police statement said.

The detainees are suspected of having recruited several women and organising their departure to France from 2012 onwards.

“Once there they were forced to steal in the street and to hand over the money," the police statement said. "In some cases, children were also victims.”

Bosnian and French police estimate the illicit profit was more than two million euros.

The money was allegedly laundered in real estate purchases and luxury cars in Bosnia.

Bosnia in the Balkans is a transit point for human, drugs and arms trafficking.

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