Bus full of Moldovan people intercepted near asylum center; two arrested for human trafficking

Koninklijke Marechaussee (Photo: Koninklijke MarechausseeKoninklijke Marechaussee (Photo: Koninklijke Marechaussee/Facebook)

The Koninklijke Marechaussee intercepted a tour bus containing around 65 Moldovan people near the asylum center in Ter Apel on Monday morning. The 57-year-old bus driver and a 50-year-old co-driver were arrested on suspicion of human trafficking, a spokesperson for the Marechaussee said to NU.nl.

Employees of the asylum center called the Koninklijke Marechaussee, a policing force that works as part of the Dutch military and is responsible for border security, when they noticed a group of about 20 people walking from the bus onto the center's grounds. The bus was parked around 500 meters from the asylum center's entrance.

All the Moldovan passengers on the bus have applied for asylum in the Netherlands. According to the Marechaussee, there were many children among them. Whether the two arrested suspects, also from Moldova, also applied for asylum, the spokesperson could not say. 

This is the third group of Moldovan people intercepted by the Marechaussee in the past weeks. On November 11th, the Marechaussee intercepted 11 Moldovan people at the Limburg town of Baexem, and on November 16th a group of 19 people were intercepted near Ter Apel. In both cases the groups contained children and in both cases a man was arrested on suspicion of human trafficking.

The spokesperson for the Marechaussee told NU.nl that this is a new development. The Marechaussee are investigating whether these three cases are connected.