The coordinated raids, which several officials said was the biggest in the decades-long history of the force, are targeting human traffickers and criminals involved in forced prostitution.
More than 1,500 police officers have been deployed nationwide, including Germany’s GSG9 elite SWAT teams.
Over 60 residential and business premises have been searched.
The federal police in North Rhine-Westphalia reported that numerous arrest warrants have been issued and several people have already been arrested, among them a 59-year-old Thai woman and resident in Siegen. “But there will be more (arrests),” a spokesman said.
The raids are primarily aimed at a group of around 15 to 20 people of German and Thai nationality. The woman arrested is suspected of being a leader of the gang.
Among other things, the gang has been accused of human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation and the exploitation of prostitutes. The alleged perpetrators are suspected of smuggling several hundred people from Thailand to Germany and forcing them into prostitution.
The raids, which are also being conducted in brothels and massage studios, are expected to continue throughout the day on Wednesday.