European cocaine gangs using forced labor to exploit children - FreedomUnited.org

European cocaine gangs using forced labor to exploit children

  • Published on
    June 11, 2024
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  • Category:
    Child Slavery
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A recent investigation by The Guardian found the continent’s £10bn appetite for cocaine has led to forced child labor on an equally massive scale. Increasingly powerful drug cartels are forcing hundreds, possibly thousands, of unaccompanied child migrants to work as drug sellers on European streets. They do this to meet the growing demand for cocaine in cities including Paris and Brussels.

Industrial scale exploitation

The increase in refugees willing to risk their lives to escape grinding poverty or violence and fleeing to Europe over the last decade is well documented. All migrants are vulnerable to increased risks of exploitation and human trafficking, but unaccompanied children are especially vulnerable to becoming trapped in modern slavery. The new investigation shines a light on that vulnerability. Additionally, E.U. police forces warn that the exploitation of African children by Western European cocaine gangs has now reached an “industrial scale.”

Belgian federal police for Europol stated:

“Thousands of unaccompanied foreign minors cross the EU’s borders every year, disappearing without any traceable trail. Many of them are ‘captured’ by criminal circles to exploit them, which worsens their traumas.”

Drug trafficking networks are forcibly recruiting North African minors in increasing numbers to sell narcotics on the streets. Drug cartels view these vulnerable children as an “unlimited” supply of labor. Some sources believe the number of children caught in cartel slavery could run into the thousands. The report cites the latest police data, showing that in 2022, 15,928 unaccompanied children arrived in Europe, and many of them have gone missing.

Tortured into becoming a dealer

According to local child protection agencies in the cities affected, if children “working” for the cocaine gangs fail to sell enough drugs, they use brutal means, like torture and rape, to control them and get the children back on the street selling. And the exploitation seems to be spreading. According to Guardian sources, Police in London recently found several Moroccan and Algerian children who they believe were trafficked into the country by cocaine gangs and appeared to be victims of torture.

Eric Garbar, head of human trafficking and smuggling at the Belgian federal judicial police said:

“What we have in the EU is an unstoppable low-cost human resource from Africa.”

Police have found evidence that traffickers are bringing children directly from their home countries into the cocaine networks in Europe. Traffickers lure many on social media with promises of a better life, only for the children to find themselves in modern slavery.

The huge levels of exploitation have led to growing concern among welfare agencies and lawmakers across Europe. In March, E.U. police forces, U.K. and U.N. agencies, and Europol met to discuss how to work together to tackle the problem of the exploitation and trafficking of African children by Western European drug networks. Freedom United stands beside Caroline Vrijens, the Flemish children’s rights commissioner, who said African children were the “most vulnerable” in Europe. She is calling for urgent action from the authorities to tackle the issue and protect children from exploitation.

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Nusret erdem ankara
Nusret erdem ankara
1 month ago

Evet savaşlar’dan en çok çocuklar ve gencler etkileniyor. Daga cok ses lazim

Chris
Chris
1 month ago

This is Insane!!! I hope and pray that the Children can be free from this modern slavery and that the Traffickers be punished for their misdeeds.

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