Macedonia arrests alleged 15 human traffickers

Macedonian police have arrested 15 alleged human traffickers, including a police officer, suspected of smuggling Arabs, Africans and south Asians into western Europe, a minister said Sunday.

They are suspected of running an international human trafficking ring, smuggling more than 250 immigrants from Greece to Serbia over the past six months, Interior Minister Gordana Jankuloska told reporters.

The immigrants included nationals of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, Syria and other Arab countries, the minister said.

They paid between 120 and 200 euros ($160 to 270) to get to Serbia and another 300 euros to enter European Union countries, she said.

The immigrants either sneaked into Serbia away from border crossings, or were hidden in car boots or managed to cross aboard buses and even cabs, Jankuloska said.

Macedonia lies on the so-called Balkans Route used by criminals for trafficking of all kinds towards western Europe.