Advocacy – Tandarei Case, Romania





NOTA BENE: Please take notice that a number of NGOs from UK, acting in the field of human rights and rule of law, joined our petition a couple of days later because the call for support was sent during the weekend and many of them were not able to take a decision in due time.  As one of the main UK actors in tackling trafficking in human beings, the Human Trafficking Foundation has joined our initiative, together with other entities, such as:

  1. Human Trafficking Foundation, UK
  2. Saint John of God Hospitaller Services, UK
  3. Parasol, UK
  4. North Wales Regional Equality Network, UK
  5. Religious Sisters of Charity, English/Scottish province, UK
  6. Jesuit Refugee Service Romania (JRS), RO
  7. Professional League of Social Workers of Sumy Region, Ukraine
  8. Religious in Europe networking Against Human Trafficking (RENATE), UK
  9. SOLWODI, Germany
  10. liberatED, Romania


As members of the civil society, we, a group of 25 Romanian and international NGOs that fight against corruption and organised crime, are acting together in order to bring into the international community’s attention the Țandarei case on trafficking in minors.

Please find our petition below, sent on 19th of February 2019 to the following actors, calling on them to make Romania responsible for its obligations under the international conventions against organised crime and human trafficking that it is part of:


To: M. Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission

CC: Vice-President Frans Timmermans; Commissioners: Věra Jourová, Julian King, and Dimitris Avramopoulos


To: Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament

CC: Subcommittee on Human Rights Chair – Pier Antonio Panzeri; Subcommittee on Human Rights Vice-Chair – Cristian Dan Preda; Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Chair – Claude Moraes; Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Vice-Chair – Judith Sargentini; MPs – Raymond Finch; Monica Macovei; Traian Ungureanu; Tim Aker; Committee on Legal affairs Chair – Pavel Svoboda; MPs: Mary Honeyball; Sajjad Karim; Amjad Bashir; Wajid Khan; David Martin; Damian Drăghici


To: Baroness Butler-Sloss & Vernon Coaker MP, Co-Chairs of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery

CC: Anthony Steen, Former MP & Human Trafficking Foundation’s Chairman

To: Chair of the Justice Committee, Bob Neill MP

To: Chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, Rt Hon Harriet Harman MP


To: Ms. Dunja Mijatović, The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights

To: Mr. Ryszard Piotrowicz, President of GRETA

  1. OSCE

To: Ms. Madina Jarbussynova, OSCE Special Representative, Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings


To: Mrs. Michelle Bachelet Jeria, The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

  1. UNODC

To: Mr. Yury Fedotov, The Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime


To: Mr. Philip ALSTON, The United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights

To: Ms. Urmila BHOOLA, The United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery

To: Ms. Maria Grazia GIAMMARINARO, The United Nations Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children


To: H.E. Pope Francis

CC: H.E. Msgr. Marcelo Sánchez SORONDO, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences


To: Mr. Jürgen Stock, The Secretary General of INTERPOL


To: Ms. Catherine De Bolle, The Executive Director of EUROPOL


RE: Organised criminals let off in Romania! Organised crime wins as the Romanian Justice System lets off a network of human traffickers the UK and Romanian police were funded to entrap


When justice for those who are vulnerable dies, civil society must stand up for democratic legal institutions!

The current state of human trafficking and organised crime in Romania is threatening its citizens and their fundamental rights. Tens of thousands of Romanians are tortured and exploited all over the world with the complicity of the Romanian authorities. The criminal justice system set up to fight transnational organised networks seems to be on the brink of collapse in Romania.

On the 12th of February 2019 – after about 9 years of trial with 53 public hearings in which none of the parties in the trial was heard as the court postponed 52 of them and in one decided to change the measures against offenders from arrest to court supervision for only 60 days – the court decided to acquit 25 of the 26 offenders arrested in 2010 (who headed the network) that were prosecuted in Romania and to lift the seizing order applicable to their goods and assets. The prosecutor can appeal the court decision in 10 days (before 22 February 2019).

This case was the first to involve an EU Joint Investigation Team on human trafficking against one of the most violent European criminal networks acting in many EU countries and labelled by Europol as ‘one of the largest human trafficking rings in Europe’. It was funded by the European Commission and national governments with many millions of euros. The investigation led to a change in EU law and the adoption of Directive 36/2011. During the transnational investigation, 1087 children were identified as being exploited outside Romania. The UK authorities estimated that for each exploited child the network’s profit was £160,000/year. Victims identified in UK were exploited for at least 2 years, with the youngest being only a few months old.    

Based on these facts and many other similar cases that are not effectively handled by the Romanian authorities,

Having in mind Romania’s obligations under the international conventions that it is part of,

Looking into the competences of the international and national bodies responsible for transnational cooperation against organised crime,


We believe that the TIME TO ACT TOGETHER IS NOW!

Therefore, we, the undersigned NGOs, call on the above-mentioned actors to make Romania responsible for its specific obligations under the international conventions against organised crime and human trafficking that it is part of.

Relevant links:

1. Al Jazeera English video about the case (September 2010):,
2. Romanian National Television TVR1 (short video description of the case in Romanian, 2019):–niciun-vinovat–inculpa–ii-din-dosarul—andarei–judeca–i-pentru-trafic-de-minori-in-marea-britanie–au-fost-achita–i-de-o-instan–a-din-romania_841863_video.html#view
3. Official Website of the Prosecutor’s Office (case submission to the court, 29 July 2010) –
4. Official Website of the Court (restitution of the case to the prosecutor for restoring the indictment, 3 January 2013) –
5. Official Website of the Court (52 hearings postponed & 1st instance decision, 12 February 2019) –
6. Operation GOLF (one of the 4 investigations, December 2007- December 2009)–-uk-and-romanian-joint-investigation-tackling-romanian-organised-crime_en

NGO List of signatories:

  • Romanian NGOs
  1. European Center for Legal Education and Research (ECLER)
  2. Freedom House Romania (FHR)
  3. Save the Children Romania
  4. Voices for Democracy and Justice (VeDem Just)
  5. Funky Citizens
  6. Syene Centre for Education
  7. Platforma Romania 100 (Ro100)
  8. Timisoara Society
  9. eLiberare
  10. Media Investigation Center (CIM)
  11. Asociația Cultural-Socială Economică Christiana
  12. Reaching Out Romania
  13. Open Door
  • International NGOs
  1. Specialist Policing (Bernie Gravett – Former Superintendent & Coordinator of the international operation in this case), UK
  2. Cambridge Centre for Applied Research in Human Trafficking, UK
  3. Dayik Consumer Awareness International, UK
  4. Stimulus, UK
  5. Wales Assembly of Women, UK
  6. Associazione Donne Romene in Italia (ADRI), Italy
  7. Associazione Ebano, Italy
  8. Interaction, Republic of Moldova
  9. Women’s Law Clinic, University of Ibadan, Nigeria
  10. DEHAT, India
  11. Knowledge Steez Eduhub, India
  12. Legal Aawaz, India



Silvia Tabusca, [email protected]

Bernie Gravett, Former Superintendent & Coordinator of the international operation in this case