Group of 8 faces human trafficking charges after pocketing social benefits in UK

Homeless person in Lithuania
DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

The suspects were detained on Sept. 22 as a result of an investigation, which found that the accomplices operated in the Šiauliai and Telšiai counties to recruit socially vulnerable and impoverished with alcohol addictions and previous criminal records to take them to the United Kingdom for committing crimes.

Two of the main organizers used to get about a few hundred euros for each recruited individual, while their local assistants were paid a few dozen euros.

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The recruited individuals were persuaded that their activities in the UK was not criminal but, instead, use of the gaps in Britain’s laws. They were promised a free trip to Great Britain, daily allowance for food, hotel accommodation and 200 euros in cash.

Upon arrival in the United Kingdom, the Lithuanians had their documents forged to open bank accounts and bring them to institutions handling social benefits. After signing necessary papers, the people were sent back to Lithuania, while the initiators of the illegal scheme, which is listed as fraud in England, would receive monthly social benefits of a few hundred euros for a year.

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The investigation includes about 100 recruited individuals.

Lithuania’s Criminal Code stipulates jail term of four to 12 years in prison for human trafficking on this scale.

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