A Hungarian and French police investigation has led to the arrest of twelve men suspected of trafficking Hungarian women to France to work as prostitutes. In raids carried out simultaneously by Hungarian police in Csongrád county, in southern Hungary, and French law enforcement on Monday morning, cash and assets worth several hundreds of millions of forints were seized, Viktória Csiszér-Kovács, national police spokeswoman, told a press conference.
The raid in Hungary involved more than 200 police officers conducting house searches at over 20 sites in Csongrád county. Altogether 14 luxury cars were also seized, she added. French authorities allege that the ring set up by a family in Szeged in Csongrád county sent at least 40 young Hungarian women to work as prostitutes in Bordeaux, Nice and Strasbourg. Most of the income was spent on purchasing property and other assets in Hungary, Ferenc Szánka, the spokesman for the local prosecution office in Csongrád county, said.
On Wednesday, a Budapest court ruled for the pre-trial detention and transfer to French authorities of ten out of the 12 Hungarian nationals suspected of trafficking Hungarian women to work as prostitutes in France. The French authorities put out a European arrest warrant for the 12 men who were taken into custody in Hungary on Monday in a raid coordinated with Hungarian police, the court said in a statement.
Charges against the 12 suspects include operating as a ring, trafficking women and money laundering, the court said. The ruling is final in the case of ten suspects while the other two appealed. Under the court’s biding ruling the ten suspects must be transferred to the authority that issued the warrant no later than ten days after the ruling, or else the suspects must be released from custody. Under French law the suspects face a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
via hungarymatters.hu and MTI photos and video: police.hu