The Hague (AFP) – Dutch and British police have arrested four suspected human traffickers and rescued four teenage girls hidden in the back of a camping car headed for Britain, Dutch prosecutors said on Monday.
Two of the suspects and their human cargo were on their way to Rotterdam to catch a ferry to Britain when Dutch gendarmes searched their camping car at a rest stop near the southern Dutch town of Bergen op Zoom on Thursday.
"The marechaussee (gendarmes) went into action after receiving a British request for help," the Public Prosecutor's office said in a statement.
British police have arrested a man in the northern city of Hull in connection with the case. There is a regular ferry service between Rotterdam and Hull.
A fourth man was arrested on Friday in Beverwijk, northwest of Amsterdam.
Ali Muhammed Raza, 38, appeared Saturday morning in a Hull court, charged with four counts of facilitating illegal entry, plus conspiracy to facilitate illegal entry, Britain's Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) said in a statement.
The three other suspects, two Iraqi nationals and a man from Turkey, aged between 24 and 34, are expected to be extradited to Britain soon.
The four teens, believed to be from Syria or Iraq, have requested asylum in the Netherlands.
"We believe those arrested were members of a well-established people-smuggling racket that was preying on vulnerable females in order to line their own pockets," said SOCA spokeswoman Jane Johnson.