Pickpocket Slaves of Europe

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Child SlaveryHuman Trafficking

The pickpocket slaves of Europe have prompted a major international investigation by the Netherlands regarding the plague of forced child pickpockets in Europe…

In Eastern Europe, children are living what the Dutch press calls a modern Oliver Twist story.  Some of the children are being held against their will and forced to beg and steal their way around Western European cities.

According to the findings of an international investigation called Operation 13Oceans, these young thieves, as young as 8 years old, are picking pockets and involved in other petty crimes in the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, Germany, and Spain.

Several kids appeared on the radar of the Dutch police when they saw the same faces over and over again, with different names each time. They had picked them up, booked them, and let them out on the streets again, in a never ending cycle. Eventually, as the cops ran their faces through the databases of Europol and other international organizations, a list of around 300 kids emerged. The children are invisible victims because it is hard for society to see the sinister hand of organized human trafficking that lies behind the petty thievery that afflicts so many European cities, helping to stoke the anger against “migrants,” many of whom are Roma, but many of whom are not.

A Dutch prosecutor said, “What you see is often not what it appears. When you see a mother begging with a child, for instance, you don’t necessarily think about the infant being forced to serve as a prop for a woman who is not its mother at all.”

Another member of 13Oceans added, “As the children get older, they are forced to steal for a criminal organization. We are actively watching four international criminal networks.” More specifics were not given, since the investigation in ongoing.  But the ages of the children range from 8 to 16, he said.

In the past, investigators tended to look at this issue as pickpocketing or so-called mobile banditry offenses…but now in this case the children are considered victims rather than offenders.  Some of the victims are demanded to steal up to [$1,115] a day.

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