The Belgian police busted a crime ring believed to have trafficked Chinese women and forced them into sex work in Europe
- 25 people believed to be part of a sex trafficking ring were detained on Tuesday in raids in Belgium.
- Prosecutors say the crime ring brought Chinese women to Europe and forced them into sex work.
The Belgian police detained 25 people on Tuesday in a crackdown on a crime ring suspected of trafficking Chinese women into Europe and forcing them into prostitution.
The Belgian police raided 26 locations in multiple cities including Antwerp and Brussels, the federal prosecutor's office told the Associated Press.
Of the 25 detained suspects, 22 were of Chinese origin and three were from Belgium, per Reuters.
The police also found more than 20 victims of the trafficking ring — all women from China — during the raids on Tuesday. The victims have been sent to a center that supports and houses vulnerable people, per The Brussels Times.
Belgian prosecutors told the AP these women were taken from China to Europe, made to have sex with clients, and ordered to hand over most of their earnings to their traffickers. The prosecutors added that the crime ring operated brothels out of hotels and vacation homes, and found its clients through websites.
The women were also moved around to different locations in Europe, the AP reported.
"A significant proportion of the victims no longer had legal residence status, which increased their dependence on the criminal organization," the prosecutor's office told the AP.
"For several years now, the presence of Chinese sex workers has been increasing in Belgium, with a center of gravity in Brussels," the Belgian federal public prosecutor's office said in a press release on Tuesday, seen by The Brussels Times.
In June, the Belgian police also said they were concerned that more Chinese sex workers were being sexually exploited and trafficked in the country, especially in large cities like Antwerp, Brussels, and Ghent.
Representatives for the Belgian Federal Police and the Belgian Federal Prosecutor's Office did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment.
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