Spanish police bust Vietnamese human trafficking ring that smuggled in 730 people

Several dozen suspects were arrested as police took down a criminal network worth millions that had smuggled at least 730 Vietnamese citizens into Spain.

Spanish police bust Vietnamese human trafficking ring that smuggled in 730 people
File photo: Pau Barrena/AFP.

Spanish police arrested 37 suspects across Spain accused of human trafficking. The criminal network was based in Barcelona and had smuggled in 730 Vietnamese citizens to Spain. The network charged €18,000 per person and then forced the trafficked victims to work in manicure centres upon arrival. 

Among those arrested was a public official in the region of Huelva, who falsified work permits and residency documents. 

The criminal organization filed asylum cases under the 'Provisions concerning protection measures for unaccompanied minors' directive, an E-wide law by which non-EU unaccompanied can claim asylum. The organization smuggled in people through airports in Madrid and Barcelona by filing fraudulent claims. 

The Vietnamese citizens who were smuggled first travelled to various destinations in Latin America before pretending to transit through the Spanish airports. Once in Spain, they claimed asylum.

Spanish agents began investigating the network last year when the number of applications for asylum for unaccompanied minors from Madrid and Barcelona suddenly increased.

The organization made €13 million from the illicit activity since the beginning of 2018 alone. The Vietnamese citizens paid €18,000 each to reach Spain, according to a report by Spanish police (in Spanish). Some paid in cash, others paid with land or assets in Vietnam or with deferred debt which they then paid back working in Spain. 

More than 100 Vietnamese beauty salons were inspected across Spain as part of the operation. Spanish police conducted their investigations in Sevilla, Granada, Murcia, Almería, Cádiz, Málaga, Madrid, Valencia, San Sebastián, Girona, Lérida, Tarragona, León, Huelva, Córdoba and Barcelona. Thousands of euros in cash, vehicles and assets were confiscated following raids in several locations.

Many of the people smuggled were forced to work 12-hour shifts in manicure centres, were made to live in squalid conditions and were denied freedom of movement – ferried to and from work under the supervision of the traffickers. 

READ MORE: Brazen drug trafficking alarms southern Spain






Home of Spain footballer Sergio Ramos burgled while children inside

Veteran Spain defender Sergio Ramos' home was raided by burglars with his four young children inside while he was on Champions League duty with Sevilla last week, police and reports said Wednesday.

Home of Spain footballer Sergio Ramos burgled while children inside

“It is being investigated,” a spokeswoman for Spain’s Guardia Civil police force told AFP, adding that at the time of the burglary, there were people inside the house without giving further details.

Spanish media said the player’s four children and the two nannies looking after them were at home during the burglary in the town of Bollullos de la Mitación on September 20th, but none of them were harmed.

At the time Ramos, 37, was playing for Seville in their Champions League match against French side Lens at Seville’s Sanchez Pizjuan stadium. His wife Pilar Rubio was away at the time as well.

The thieves reportedly made off with luxury watches, jewellery, designer clothes and cash.

Ramos in 2012 suffered an attempted break-in of his home in the Spanish capital while he played for Real Madrid but the burglars left when they realised he was at home.

The player — who has 180 caps for Spain — rejoined his hometown club Sevilla from Paris Saint-Germain in early September.

Ramos joins a long list of players in Spain who have suffered break-ins at their homes while they were taking part in matches. Karim Benzema, Alvaro Morata and Gerard Pique are among the other victims.