Revealed: drug cartels force migrant children to work as foot soldiers in Europe’s booming cocaine trade

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Hundreds of unaccompanied kid migrants crossed Europe are being forced to activity arsenic soldiers for progressively powerful supplier cartels to meet nan continent’s soaring appetite for cocaine, a Guardian investigation has found.

EU constabulary forces person warned of industrial-scale exploitation of African children by cocaine networks operating successful occidental Europe successful cities including Paris and Brussels arsenic they seek to expand Europe’s £10bn cocaine market.

Child protection agencies warned that cocaine gangs, which are exploiting nan “unlimited” proviso of susceptible African children astatine their disposal, are utilizing sadistic intends to power their victims, including torture and rape if they neglect to waste capable drugs.

Sources told nan Guardian that London whitethorn beryllium next aft constabulary precocious recovered a number of Moroccan and Algerian children, seemingly victims of torture, who they judge were trafficked into nan state by cocaine gangs.

Concern complete nan level of exploitation was truthful awesome that successful March, EU constabulary forces – on pinch UK and UN agencies and Europol – met to talk really to tackle nan exploitation and trafficking of African children by narcotics networks based successful occidental Europe.

A abstracted caller appraisal by EU constabulary forces investigating superior organised crime and quality trafficking concluded: “Sweden, Belgium, nan Netherlands, Spain and France presented respective actual cases of nan exploitation of hundreds of northbound African minors, recruited by supplier trafficking networks to waste narcotics.”

Other sources judge nan existent fig could tally into nan thousands, pinch nan latest constabulary information showing 15,928 unaccompanied children arrived successful Europe successful 2022, galore of whom subsequently went missing.

A caller archive by nan Belgian national constabulary for Europol stated: “Thousands of unaccompanied overseas minors transverse nan EU’s borders each year, disappearing without immoderate traceable trail. Many of them are ‘captured’ by criminal circles to utilization them, which worsens their traumas.”

Eric Garbar, caput of quality trafficking and smuggling astatine nan Belgian national judicial police, is 1 of nan officers starring attempts to tackle nan exploitation of unaccompanied children by criminal networks. He said: “With African minors, fundamentally Moroccan and Algerian, nan astir important area is nan exploitation by OCGs [organised crime groups] progressive successful criminal activities specified arsenic supplier trafficking.

A constabulary canine stands connected its hind legs sniffing a stack of crates of bananas
A Belgian constabulary canine inspects crates successful nan larboard of Antwerp, considered nan main gateway for forbidden narcotics into Europe. Photograph: Jonas Roosens/Belga/AFP/Getty Images

“What we person successful nan EU is an unstoppable low-cost quality assets from Africa.”

Police mention nan Moroccan “Mocro Maffia” arsenic a premier exploiter of nan children. The organisation includes respective of Europe’s largest cocaine trafficking cartels, who activity straight pinch South American producers. The group is thought to beryllium progressive at Belgium larboard of Antwerp, the main gateway for cocaine into Europe.

The Mocro Maffia is notoriously brutal, issuing threats to Belgium’s justness minister and, successful nan Netherlands, to nan Dutch crown princess. Earlier this year, a number of its members progressive successful a bid of gangland killings were jailed for life.

Police person grounds that children are trafficked nonstop from Morocco to nan cocaine networks successful Europe, galore lured by societal media and promises of a amended life.

“The Mocro Maffia understand that successful their state of root they person astatine their disposal unlimited quality resources,” said Garber.

Caroline Vrijens, nan Flemish children’s authorities commissioner, said African children were nan “most vulnerable” successful Europe and called for urgent action from nan authorities to tackle nan issue.

Source theguardian