Last March, thirty-six suspects were taken into custody and 45 premises were searched, all part of an investigation into organised crime smuggling people into Britain from the Middle East. Human trafficking has long been a major concern for policy makers and law enforcement, and a huge source of income for organised crime. Europol has put a tremendous amount of energy into the issue and this current operation is the climax of one year-long operation. Involving a number of law enforcement entities, the operation was coordinated by Europol with the investigation spanning Greece, Belgium, the UK, France and Turkey. It is just one of over 600 cases currently being conducted by Europol. Half of those are in some way linked to Britain. This long term investigation has uncovered that there is possibly 3000 organised crime groups operating across the continent with some 60 various nationalities encompassing the membership.

Germany and Britain are the high priority territories. Overall, organised crime is shifting its activity. The Balkans is becoming a major transport for illegal immigration and the drug trade. Former Eastern bloc countries like Lithuania have become a rival hub that runs across northeastern Europe. Italy remains a criminal headquarters for human trafficking and counterfeiting. Southwestern territories like Spain are a hub for sex trafficking and immigration. It is estimated organised crime generates somewhere in the vicinity of £580 billion annually. Fraud and drugs remain the trade with the biggest profit. Yet, the Internet is easily making cybercrime a fast growing criminal enterprise. Maps of organised crime and its groups show that the UK is of focused interest to these organisations. There are clusters of illegal activity concentrated in London. It is believed this is largely in part due to Britain’s multicultural society, making it an ideal destination for illegal immigration and the trafficking of human beings. To combat the threat in the UK, Europol has formed a network with 20 law enforcement agencies across the continent. They will focus on jurisdictional, geographical and organisational avenues for curtailing criminal activity.