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51 persons arrested in crackdown on labour exploitation - press release picture

51 persons arrested in crackdown on labour exploitation

Published date

334 potential victims and 160 perpetrators identified during EMPACT Joint Action Days conducted by 31 countries across Europe.

Press release

Law enforcement, border guards and labour and tax authorities across Europe joined forces on 20-27 April 2024 to identify and tackle labour exploitation. These EMPACT Joint Action Days (JADs) targeted human trafficking for labour exploitation purposes, in particular the exploitation of non-EU nationals and refugees. Led by the Netherlands, and carried out by authorities from 31 countries with support from Europol and the European Labour Authority (ELA), the action days led to the arrest of 51 persons and identification of 334 potential victims of human trafficking.  

Overall, the results of the action include:

  • 15 313 officers from law enforcement and labour and tax authorities participated in the action
  • 165 896 entities checked (including 63 649 persons, 9 564 locations, 20 556 vehicles and 76 670 documents)
  • 160 persons suspected of trafficking human beings identified (of which 93 for labour exploitation)
  • 51 persons arrested for various crimes (of which 30 for labour exploitation)
  • 334 potential victims of human trafficking identified (of which 279 potential victims of labour exploitation)  
  • 476 new investigations in various crimes launched (of which 80 in labour exploitation)

The aim of the week-long activity was for authorities to target the forms of labour exploitation most relevant or prevalent in their respective countries. Countries performed inspections in a broad range of sectors such as catering, gastronomy, food delivery, food and meat processing, beauty services, domestic health services, logistics and distribution, agriculture, construction and mining.

Following its previous iterations, the action featured a prominent multidisciplinary approach. The work of national and regional police bodies, border guards, tax authorities, labour authorities and labour inspectorates was coordinated and supported by Europol and the European Labour Authority. Several inspections with enforcement authorities from different countries jointly inspecting companies were facilitated. As a result, the operation benefitted from better flow of information and raised awareness of human trafficking indicators. This close collaboration between various authorities and law enforcement significantly contributed to the success of the action week fighting labour exploitation.

Participating Member States

Netherlands (action leader), France, Italy and Romania (co-leaders), Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldova, North Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and United Kingdom.

Participating agencies

Europol and European Labour Authority.

What is EMPACT

The European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats is composed of European law enforcement agencies’ representatives as well as labour inspectors. Its purpose is to develop, coordinate and execute joint activities against trafficking and all types of labour exploitation. It also aims to enhance cooperation between national enforcement bodies.