Austria Busts Romanian Migrant Sex Trafficking Ring that Lured at Least 20 Women

A policewoman patrols over a Christmas market in Salzburg on December 20, 2016, as security measures are taken after a deadly rampage by a lorry driver at a Berlin Christmas market. / AFP / APA / BARBARA GINDL / Austria OUT (Photo credit should read BARBARA GINDL/AFP/Getty Images)

Austrian police have arrested three Romanian nationals after busting a sex trafficking gang that allegedly lured at least 20 women, mainly from Moldova, to Austria and forced them into prostitution.

Police arrested two men aged 31 and 32 and a 37-year-old woman from Romania for operating a human sex trafficking ring in Vienna and Tyrol. Most of the victims came from neighbouring non-EU nation Moldova. Police also are searching for three other Romanian nationals in connection to the case.

The Romanian gang is thought to have operated a sex trafficking ring since at least mid-2020. Police carried out eight house searches on Monday in Vienna, Ampass, Innsbruck, and Hall in Tyrol, Austrian tabloid Kronen Zeitung reports.

Investigators say they found extensive evidence of the people trafficking operation and seized tens of thousands of euros in cash during the house raids. Authorities said that after being taken into custody, the three Romanians admitted to the charges of sex trafficking.

Human trafficking is still, despite the Wuhan coronavirus, a major issue in Europe, as criminal networks smuggle into the European Union migrants who are often used in modern-day slave-like conditions or forced into prostitution.

Earlier this week in Germany and Slovakia, police arrested two women from Vietnam and Slovakia who were allegedly active as part of a human trafficking ring that smuggled Vietnamese nationals into Germany and other European countries, forcing them into sex work and nail studios to pay off the debt they accrued for bringing them into the continent.

Last October, police in Finland busted a similar ring, arresting five men and one woman, all Romanians, on suspicion of operating a sex trafficking ring in several major cities across the country.

The victims of the Romanian gang in Finland were said to have come from Romania, as well, and had been lured to the Nordic country with fake job offers. However, it was also alleged some of the victims knew they would be engaging in prostitution.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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