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Members of human trafficking ring arrested

A human trafficking ring is suspected of taking 5,000 people from Iran to the West since 2003. Officers of the Regional Criminal Court in Lower Austria arrested nine presumed suspects.

Seven of the nine suspects have already been sentenced to several years of imprisonment due to human trafficking and being a member of a criminal organisation. Two further suspects are in custody awaiting trial in the prison of Korneuburg (Lower Austria). The police is still searching for further members of the group.

According to the Austrian Press Agency (APA), illegal immigrants had to pay between 8,000 and 12,000 Euros to the organisation. The group presumably had their own internal "bank system", which made transfer of money for human trafficking between the countries possible.

The human traffickers cashed 50 million Euros in total. The illegal immigrants were taken on foot over the Turkish border and then to Greece where the group had set up headquarters.

Immigrants were further transported to Central and Northern Europe on different routes by planes, ferries or vehicles.

At the beginning of 2013, Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner founded a separate special commission "SOKO-human trafficking North", consisting of 12 police officers.

The commission’s task is to fight against human trafficking rings, which take routes from Russia through Poland, the Czech Republic, the Ukraine and Slovakia.

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