Spanish police arrest 19 Romanians over forced labour

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They forced 27 of their compatriots to work as farm labourers for 12 hours a day without pay or to beg when there was no work.

MADRID – Spanish police have arrested 19 Romanians accused of enslaving 27 of their compatriots for forced labour and begging, the interior ministry announced Friday.

The police made the arrests in Barcelona and at Faura, near the eastern town of Valencia. In Faura, they also freed the 27 victims held captive in slum apartments, a ministry statement said.

"The victims were recruited in Romania, with false promises of jobs, then they were forced to work without pay and with no freedom. When they had no work, they were compelled to beg on the streets."

The crowded living conditions in the two apartments were appalling, but the ensnared people made no escape bids for fear of reprisals. An investigation was launched after two Romanians reported being held against their will at Alicante in southeastern Spain.

Most of the victims were sent out as farm labourers, to work in the fields for almost 12 hours a day.

[AFP / Expatica]

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