Jail term demanded for Dutch slave owner

21st September 2011, Comments 0 comments

The Public Prosecutor has called for a four-year prison sentence for a Dutch farmer accused of economically exploiting foreign workers.

José Janssen, an asparagus grower in the southern province of Brabant, was arrested in June. The foreign workers she employed, many of them from Poland, received five euros instead of the 13 they are entitled to under Dutch labour law.

In addition, some of their wages were withheld to cover board and lodging. The foreigners were forced to do their shopping at a shop on the employer’s land, where prices for ordinary products were far higher than elsewhere.

Ms Jansen was already convicted of exploiting temporary foreign workers in 2009 and 2010. The Portuguese and Romanian workers she hired were forced to live at the farm in appalling conditions. They were compelled to surrender their passports and were prevented from making telephone calls. They were forced to sleep in dirty rooms with no windows and were locked up for the duration of the night.

The village’s mayor described the situation as one of “modern slavery”.

In 2009 and 2010 Ms Janssen was sentenced to several months in jail and ordered to pay fines. She denies paying her workers too little and has so far failed to pay the fines, which have since risen to 1.1 million euros. Two weeks ago, her home, farm and lands were sold at auction in order to help pay off the arrears.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

0 Comments To This Article