The Portuguese Judiciary Police and the Spanish Civil Guard dismantled an international criminal organisation focused on Human Trafficking that exploited workers on agricultural fields in the province of Segovia, Spain.
According to a statement from the Civil Guard, in a joint operation, coordinated by Eurojust, the two police forces arrested five people and carried out nine home searches in Spain and Portugal, during which a large amount of documents about work situations and the criminal organisation itself was seized, as well as a firearm.
Four people were arrested in Spain and another person in Portugal, and three other members of the group were identified.
Ten victims of this organisation, four in Spain and six others in Portugal, were released, according to the Civil Guard who conducted this joint operation after several reports.
The investigation revealed that victims were captured by the organisation in areas of “high social vulnerability” and in some cases even had some degree of disability, and sometimes were coerced by the criminal group.
The victims were then taken to the fields in the region of Tierra de Pinares (Segovia), where they did agricultural work and, once the work day was over, they were forced to do work in the houses where they were staying.
During free time, the victims were under tight control.
This criminal organisation began operating in 2013 and offered employment in the agricultural sector in Spain, with supposed daily pay that was proportional to the work carried out, as well as food and accommodation, all of which were not fulfilled.
The members of the group, who were in pre-trial detention, lived in a rented house in a municipality in the same region where some victims also lived, although in different areas and in “subhuman conditions of overcrowding.”