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Spain – Civil Guard dismantles criminal group exploiting foreign workers through use of a temp staffing firm

10 October 2019

Spain’s Civil Guard dismantled a criminal organisation that exploited workers from Romania and the Republic of Moldova through the use of a temporary staffing firm (ETT) for profit, according to the Romanian Insider.

The authorities found a total of 145 human trafficking victims who were held in semi-slave-like conditions and were forced to work in difficult conditions with little pay. The victims were taken to Spain with the promise of a better future.

According to estimates from the Spanish authorities, the criminal network had managed to control more than 600 victims, exploited to work in the agriculture sector which includes harvesting olives, grapes, and strawberry at farms in the south of the country.

According to El Pais, the criminal group was made of Romanians, who were using a temporary employment firm based in Almonte, Spain to bring workers from Romania and Moldova to Spain. Recruitment of the victims was done online and through word of mouth.

The criminal group was making over €1 million monthly on the back of the victims. Meanwhile, the workers were paid €10 per day, out of which the network charged them for food and accommodation.

The victims were kept in poor living conditions with rats coming out of the sofa, and the homes were improvised shelters made out of plastic and lacking in basic amenities.

The investigation launched in mid-2018 with the Spanish authorities arresting 16 people.

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