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Saturday, 3 March, 2001, 11:15 GMT
Vice bars raided in Bosnia
By Alix Kroeger in Sarajevo

Bosnian police have found more than 170 women believed to have been trafficked into forced prostitution.


The operation was the largest of its kind and had been planned for months

Police acting under the supervision of the United Nations raided bars, hotels and nightclubs across the country in the largest operation of its kind.

Most of the women came from Moldova, Romania and Ukraine.

In the past few years Bosnia has become a major destination country for trafficked women.

Repatriation

The operation was the largest of its kind and had been planned for months.

Local police acting under the supervision of the United Nations mission raided 39 premises and detained more than 200 people, many of them bar owners.


In the past few years Bosnia has become a major destination country for trafficked women

Most of the women have been taken to safe houses for interview and those found to be trafficked will be offered the chance of repatriation.

Efforts to clamp down on trafficking in Bosnia have been increasing.

In the past year-and-a-half nearly 250 women have been rescued and voluntarily repatriated.

Thriving trade

Most of the trafficked women are brought in through Hungary or Yugoslavia before being sold on in the northern town of Brcko.

Some are as young as 13 and many are travelling on false passports or expired visas.

Human rights officials say the international community is contributing to the demand for prostitution.

There are more than 20,000 peacekeeping troops here and more than 1,000 international police.

Corruption in the local police is sometimes the problem. Police salaries are low and they are often paid late.

Smaller operations have sometimes failed because the bar owner was tipped off.

This time, however, the raids have turned up the desired result.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Alex Kroeger
"It's a thriving trade"
See also:

17 Nov 00 | Europe
UN swoops on Kosovo sex trade
30 Nov 00 | Europe
UN policemen disgraced in Bosnia
09 Feb 01 | Europe
EU tackles sex trade
27 Jan 00 | World
New weapon against child porn
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