Belgium charges nine with trafficking of Chinese sex workers

  • Banknotes worth about $1.6 million also seized
  • Raids also carried out in Spain and Switzerland

BRUSSELS, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Belgium charged nine people with human trafficking and money laundering on Wednesday for their alleged roles in a gang suspected of bringing women from China to be sex workers in Europe.

Some 300 Belgian police detained 27 people in raids across the country on Tuesday and seized bank notes worth about 1.5 million euros ($1.6 million) along with 4 tonnes of coins, federal prosecutors said.

Another person was detained in Spain and a further two in Switzerland after similar raids. Belgian investigators want them to be extradited.

Belgian prosecutors brought nine of those detained before a judge on Wednesday to be charged and remanded them in custody. The other 18 were released.

Prosecutors said the number of Chinese sex workers in Belgium has risen in recent years, notably in Brussels. They believe a criminal organisation brought the women to Europe and forced them to become prostitutes.

The women, advertised online, are frequently moved across locations in Europe and have a large proportion of their earnings taken from them, prosecutors said. ($1 = 0.9305 euros)

Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Ben Dangerfield

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