The European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) announced that an international operation, in cooperation with the Austrian authorities, was carried out to combat transnational organized crime in Central and Southeast Europe on 13 September.
According to a Frontex press release on September 29, the operation, known as EMPACT Joint Action Day (JAD) Danube, focused primarily on combating activities related to migrant smuggling, human trafficking and document forgery.
In order to be able to successfully carry out such an operation, to allow easy exchange of information, and to lead the investigation of human trafficking and smuggling, a coordination center was established in Vienna.
Through the operation led by Frontex along with police, border guards and customs officers from the participating countries, 144 suspected smugglers were arrested in just over a week, TheSchengen.com reports.
In addition, the same press release revealed that in addition to the arrest of more than a hundred smugglers, another 6,656 irregular migrants were discovered.
Moreover, during this operation aimed at combating illegal activities, the authorities were able to uncover 76 forged documents as well as 13 vehicles suspected of being used to carry out illegal activities.
“Human trafficking is one of the most profitable forms of organized crime, generating billions of euros for criminal networks. Frontex plays an active role in combating this crime through activities such as joint action days and also through training border guards across Europe. Frontex noted that the agency is managing A number of operations are also carried out at international airports with the aim of detecting and protecting victims of trafficking, especially children.
This operation was part of the European Interdisciplinary Forum Against Criminal Threats, a four-year plan to combat organized and serious crime.
The authorities of Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Romania, Greece, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania participated in this process. The operation was also supported by Europol and Interpol.
Earlier, Frontex revealed that more than 103,639 people have entered European countries illegally since the beginning of 2021. Such a large number of people arriving in Europe illegally this year represents a 64 percent increase compared to the first half of 2020.
In addition, the same report indicated that the number of illegal border crossings doubled during the month of August, as 17,788 border crossings were registered. But the number of illegal crossings decreased by 67% on the eastern border, compared to July, when 3,242 cases were identified.