The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) assisted 20 Member States seize thousands of fake and illicit toys worth millions of euros under Europol’s operation LUDUS III, which was also supported by the European Union Intellectual Property Office and the World Customs Organization.
The seized goods included counterfeit building bricks for children, dolls and plush toys, costumes and accessories, board and card games, puzzles and fidget toys, videogames as well as characters from well-known animated movies and cartoon series. Many of these illicitly produced goods bore the name of a famous brand and posed multiple risks to children’s health and safety because they had high levels of banned or restricted chemicals, and posed choking, strangulation and fire hazards. It was also found that some of these goods could damage hearing and cause electric shocks.
Along with supporting checks of customs documentation and data analysis, OLAF also coordinated a targeted enforcement action, joining efforts on the ground to seize possible counterfeit and/or hazardous toys destined for the European market. OLAF’s coordinated action ran between September 2022 and November 2022 and resulted in the seizure of around 420,000 toys with an estimated value of approximately €1.7 million. The majority of these seizures took place at EU external borders. In addition, together with the Polish Tax and Customs authorities, OLAF participated in two raids on wholesale shops suspected of selling counterfeit and dangerous toys in the Warsaw region. During these operations, plastic toys for infants that contained dangerous levels of phthalates—a chemical plastic softener that has been shown to be harmful to the human reproductive system, especially when exposed to younger children—were seized.
More information can be found in Europol’s press release
- Publication date
- 15 June 2023
- European Anti-Fraud Office
- News type
- OLAF news article