25 NGOs file complaint against the state to the EC on the acquittal of child trafficking ring leaders

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A group of 25 NGOs are accusing the Romanian state of complicity to human trafficking, while asking the European Commission „to held Romania responsible for the duties it has in compliance with the international conventions against organised crime and human trafficking”, after last week, following nine years of trial, the Harghita Tribunal had acquitted  26 people who would have led a child trafficking ring from Tandarei. 1,087 children have been identified so far in this file as having been exploited outside Romania.

The NGOs underlined that with this acquittal, „the organised crime wins as the judiciary system in Romania allows that a human trafficking ring get away”.

The NGOs, most of them fighting against organised crime and corruption, also say that the ring has been labeled by Europol „as one of the largest human trafficking rings in Europe” while Romania acquitted its members.

The petition has been sent to the European Commission, European Parliament, the UK Parliament, the Council of Europe, OSCE, the United Nations Human Rights Council, to the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime, to the special UN rapporteurs, to the Vatican, Interpol and Europol.

The NGOs argue that the current situation of the human trafficking and organised crime in Romania is threatening the citizens and their fundamental rights. „Tens of thousands of Romanians are tortured and exploited around the world with the complicity of the Romanian authorities. The criminal judiciary system set up to fight against the transnational organised crime networks seems to be on the verge of collapsing in Romania”, the NGOs petition says.

On February 12, 2019, after about nine years of trial, with 53 court hearings where none of the parties in the trial had been heard, as the court postponed 52 of the hearings, the Tribunal of Harghita decided to acquit all those 26 criminals who led the ring and to unfreeze the seizure on their assets. The case prosecutor can challenge the ruling in 10 days, meaning by February 22.

This was the first case involving a EU joint investigation team on the human trafficking against one of the most violent criminal rings acting across Europe. The team has been financed by the European Commission and by other countries with some millions of euros. The inquiry has even prompted amendments to the EU legislation and to the Directive 36/2011.

The investigation has identified 1.087 children as having been exploited outside Romania. The British authorities estimated that for each exploited child, the profit of the criminal group stood at GBP 160,000/year. The victims identified in the UK were exploited for at least 2 years, with the youngest being only several months old.

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  1. […] This article reports 25 NGOs filing a complaint to the European Commission following acquittals of 26 people in a 9-year-long child trafficking trial involving 1,087 children. During the lengthy trial 52 court hearings were scheduled and then postponed. Europol had labeled the defendants “one of the largest human trafficking rings in Europe” and the NGOs assert that “organised crime wins as the judiciary system in Romania allows that a human trafficking ring get away.” […]

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