Police in four German states raided a total of 28 premises on Thursday, making two arrests in an attempt to shut down a Lebanese gang engaged in human trafficking.
The members of the family-based gang – or clan as such gangs are known in Germany – would face charges of human trafficking in foreign nationals for gain and other crimes, prosecutors in the western city of Trier said.
Sixteen of the properties searched were in Rhineland-Palatinate, 10 in North Rhine Westphalia, one in Berlin and one in Saarland.
More than 360 federal police officers were involved, along with 30 officials from the Trier police headquarters and six Trier prosecutors.
At a conference in Berlin, the authorities claimed progress in combating clans in the capital had been made following stricter measures introduced a year ago.
The clans, largely Arab in origin, were feeling the effects, Berlin police president Barbara Slowik said.
“We must not – and this is the danger – let up on the pressure,” she said.
The Berlin senator for interior affairs, Andreas Geisel, and the Europol head for organised crime, Jari Matti Liukku, emphasised the significance of national and international cooperation.
“If we succeed in working across Germany and across national borders, we have come a big step further,” Geisel said.
Since the beginning of the year, Berlin police have acted on 237 occasions against clans, often in cooperation with customs, the tax authorities and job centres.