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21 Nov 2023

By Alyssa Mcmurtry, Anadolu Ajansi (Turkey)

Portugal: 28 arrested for the exploitation of 100 migrant farmworkers in southern Baixo Alentejo

“Portuguese police arrest 28 for exploiting agricultural migrant workers”

In a massive police operation against human trafficking on Tuesday, Portuguese police arrested 28 people and freed at least 100 migrants working on farms in the southern Baixo Alentejo region.

Those arrested included Portuguese nationals and foreigners, who are suspected of being part of a criminal structure dedicated to exploiting the labor of migrant workers, according to a police statement.

Police say the victims were lured from countries including Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, India, Senegal, and Pakistan with the promise of making decent money.

They were assured monthly sums of anywhere from €800 ($872) to more than €1,000 to work on the farms, Inspector Manuela Santos of the National Counterterrorism Unit told media on Tuesday.

However, she said they were only given between €100 and €250 per month, as those exploiting them said the rest of the money went to housing, food, and transportation.

Santos added that the workers lived in overcrowded conditions with “a severe lack of hygiene.”..

Earlier this month, police in Spain arrested two men for forcing 43 migrants to work in “semi-slavery” conditions in the northeastern province of Zaragoza.