Human traffickers sent 'slaves' for decade
26 April 2005, LISBON — Police have detained 22 alleged members of a human trafficking gang which sent people from Portugal to Spain for up to a decade.
26 April 2005
LISBON — Police have detained 22 alleged members of a human trafficking gang which sent people from Portugal to Spain for up to a decade.
The traffickers forced their victims, some of whom suffered from mental illness, to work in "abusive" conditions on Spanish farms.
The Portuguese daily 'Jornal de Noticias' reported how police carried out a series of raids to detain the suspects. They were also investigating more than a dozen cases of people who had disappeared.
They have sought the help of Spanish authorities to try to find the people who are thought to have been victims of the gangs.
The gang, which is thought to have been at work for more than a decade, would offer people good work on a Spanish farm and promise them they could send the cash back to their families.
But once they arrived in Spain they would not be paid the money they had been promised and their papers would be stolen by the gang members in order to stop them escaping. They would not be fed properly, suffer beatings and live almost like slaves.
Often the gang would choose mentally deficient victims because they were more easy to trick and they stood less chance of escaping. The gang had been operating between Tras-os-Montes in Portugal and near the border with Galicia in north-west Spain.
Sometimes if victims complained enough they would simply be dumped at the railway station with a ticket towards their home town. But few would complain for fear of reprisals.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news