The European Union (EU) has launched a special operation to combat an expected rise in human trafficking during the Euro 2012 football tournament in Ukraine. The European Agency for the Management of External Borders (Frontex) is monitoring Poland’s border with Ukraine, as well as other European travel hubs.
According to Frontex, over 1 million people are expected to enter Ukraine and Poland during the Euro 2012 tournament, which will run from June 8 until July 1. As matches will take place in both countries, the border between them will experience a significantly higher amount of traffic than normal, posing a serious challenge to the border service.
Frontex deputy director Gil Arias Fernandez pointed out that criminals try to exploit increased border traffic during large sporting events, to traffic prostitutes and smuggle contraband. Speaking to the press at the Frontex’s headquarters in Warsaw, Arias Fernandez said that "Smugglers might think that they have more chances to cross with their victims undetected than in normal circumstances."
According to Arias Fernandez, 130 border officers from 23 European countries were recently deployed to Poland’s eastern border. Frontex is also sending 30 officers to work as observers at Ukrainian airports, while officers from Ukraine, Russia and Croatia will be observers at Polish airports. These officers will be able to use their language skills to detect criminals, but they will not have the authority to make arrests.
Poland will also be conducting random border checks on its borders with EU countries.