According to security services in the European Union, over 60 percent of the human trafficking victims in the EU between 2008 to 2010 were of European origins.
During the three years, over 7,000 women and girls and over 2,000 men and boys from EU member states were identified as victims of human trafficking. By comparison, over 1,200 women and 94 males from Africa were identified as victims.
Officials state that most of the victims originate from Bulgaria and Romania.
(More human trafficking statistics.)
Source: Associated Press, “In EU, most human trafficking victims are European, experts say,” Toronto Star, November 26, 2013.
Romania’s Custom Service stated in a report that about 50 percent of all “brand name” products that are available for sale in retail shops in Romania are actually counterfeit.
Counterfeit goods from China enter the Romania market through smuggling routes that pass through Moldova and Ukraine.
Some of the items seized by security services in 2013 included thousands of counterfeit Bulgari, Patek Philippe and Rolex watches, as well as counterfeit cosmetics destined for the Britain market. Romania also has the highest number of counterfeit toys seized within its border each year.
The country has also become the starting point for smugglers moving contraband across European Union members. Fake luxury goods, smuggled tobacco and illicit drugs are smuggled from Turkey through Bulgaria and into Turkey on its way to various EU markets.
Source: Jon Coates, “Britain to be hit with a flood of fake goods as migrants swarm in,” Sunday Express, November 24, 2013.
Intelligence officials with Europol has identified 240 organized crime gangs operating within Romania. These gangs are responsible for 6.7 percent of all criminal networks that are active across Europe.
Many of the criminal gangs are involved in payment card fraud and pickpocketing. 90 percent of the card-skimming crimes that takes place in Europe are done by gangs in Romania and Bulgaria.
The director of Europol stated that many of the gangs use low-cost airlines to travel quickly and cheaply across the EU. The gangs would fly into one city, conduct their pickpocketing crimes and card-skimming, and then quickly leave the city at the end of the day. It was previously reported that a pickpocket can make up to $6,000 a week targeting tourists.
Source: “Gangs ‘Use Budget Airlines For Crime Sprees’,” Sky News, October 2, 2013.
An independent think tank in Romania released a study that claimed $24 Billion (€18 Billion) in government revenue was lost due to tax evasion activities. The amount lost is equal to 13.8 percent of the country’s GDP. In terms of percentages, the amount lost in 2012 was slightly lower than the record high of 15 percent in 2011.
Evading cigarette taxes accounted for $388 Million (€291 Million) in losses. Cigarette smuggling accounted for 13.3 percent of the overall tobacco market in Romania.
Evading alcohol taxes accounted for $257 Million (€193 Million) in losses. Alcohol smuggling accounted for 45.7 percent of the overall alcohol market in Romania.
Source: “Tax evasion in Romania stood at 13.8 percent of GDP last year,” Balkans.com, September 16, 2013.
According to security officials and media reports, a prostitution ring operated by Romanians is controlling the prostitution trade in the city of Limerick, Ireland.
The ring was charging customers between $107 to $133 (€80 to €100) for a half-hour of sex when the customers booked online. When women were soliciting customers on the streets of Limerick, the going rate for a half hour of sex was between $40 to $66 (€30 – €50).
The prostitutes are reportedly able to make anywhere from $669 to $$1,338 (€500 to €1,000) a night. The girls are able to keep roughly 20 percent of the revenue, with the rest being used to pay for accommodations and profits sent to the leaders of the ring.
(More prices charged by prostitutes worldwide.)
Source: Kathryn Hayes, “Romanians behind city vice racket,” Independent, August 25, 2013.
Police in Norway identified 349 people who were classified as victims of human trafficking activities in 2012. The number of victims in Norway was the highest number since the survey began collecting statistics in 2007.
255 of the victims were women, 70 were children, and 24 were men.
Most of the victims were trafficked for the purpose of prostitution, with 239 victims of sexual exploitation.
The victims were from 50 nationalities, but 163 originated from Nigeria, and 46 were trafficked from Romania.
Between the years 2003 to June 2013, prosecutors in Norway obtained 28 convictions for human trafficking crimes.
(Additional human trafficking statistics.)
Source: “Number of Human Trafficking Victims Increases,” Nordic Page, July 23, 2013.
Organized crime groups working in the European Union earn over $1.9 Billion (€1.5 Billion) a year from payment card fraud within the region. The gang members steal information from credit cards, debit cards and ATM cards.
The Associated Press stated that many of these types of criminals are based in Romania. Due to its history under the Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, Romania has a strong history in mathematics and coding, and the organized crime groups have tapped into these skills. The AP further stated that students in Romania are often more advanced in mathematics than other students across the EU.
Source: Associated Press, “World Grapples With Rise In Cyber Crime,” NPR, May 11, 2013.
In 2011, authorities in the European Union seized 2.1 million counterfeit toys. According to a breakdown by Toy News, five countries in the EU accounted for 57 percent of those seizures.
Top five EU member states where fake toys were seized in 2011:
1. Romania: 319,174 counterfeit toys seized.
2. Germany: 308,506 counterfeit toys seized.
3. France: 212,273 counterfeit toys seized.
4. Spain: 193,149 counterfeit toys seized.
5. Bulgaria: 181,838 counterfeit toys seized.
Source: Dominic Sacco, “Romania is counterfeit toy capital of Europe,” Toy News, April 18, 2013.
Travel agencies in Romania were accused by prosecutors are being human smuggling rings to bring people into the United States and Canada from Mexico.
The agents would first send Romanians to Mexico due to the lack of visa requirement. From Mexico, the migrants then paid $8,000 in order to be illegally smuggled into the United States or Canada.
According to prosecutors in Romania, around 600 people used the various travel agencies to book flights. 300 of the travelers were found illegally in the United States.
Source: Associated Press, “Romania: Trafficking Ring to US, Canada Broken Up,” ABC News, March 26, 2013.
Police in Romania broke up a human-egg trafficking ring in February 2013. The traffickers would pay Romanian women between $800 to $1,100 (€600 to €800 Euros) for their eggs, and then sell it to couples in Israel for $5,339 (€4,000).
Source: AFP, “Romania busts Israeli human egg-trafficking ring,” Google News, February 19, 2013.