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European operation dismantles ‘arranged marriages’ network exploiting Portuguese women

A European operation involving Portugal’s PJ police has dismantled a network of ‘marriages of convenience’ based in Cyprus. One of the key figures in the network was arrested in Portugal this week; another in Latvia. According to a police source, at least 133 Portuguese and Latvian women were taken to Cyprus (the network paid for their tickets and passports), where they married men from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh – who were then freely entitled to live and work in Europe. Authorities have told Reuters the investigation involves conspiracy to commit a crime, aiding and abetting illegal entry, forgery, fraudulent matrimony and forcing victims into fake marriages to get EU residency permits. Suspects arrested in Cyprus have been detained by court order until February 7, while Cypriot authorities have started an extradition process against the other two suspects held in Latvia and Portugal.