The Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) has complied, today, with two arrest warrants on suspicion of the crimes of trafficking in human beings, assisting unlawful immigration and collecting illegal labour. In addition, three house search warrants and six vehicle search warrants have been complied with.
The operation “Fratello" (brother), carried out in Alcácer do Sal and Beja areas, led to the identification of fifteen foreign nationals from Eastern Europe living, most part, under degrading conditions as far labour conditions, accommodation and healthiness concern. These are victims of labour exploitation, by and large men. The citizens have been duly flagged as victims of trafficking in human beings, and all the necessary support has been made available. In the field, members of the Victim Support Network, in Alentejo, have also been present to ensure the proper treatment of the situations detected.
During the searches, several evidences of the criminal activity, such as money, mobile phones and laptops have been apprehended, as well as 11000 homemade cigarettes in packs of 20 units each sold to the workers, whose value was deducted in their salary.
The citizens held, brothers also from Eastern Europe, were recruiting workers at their country of origin by grooming for better living conditions. Already in the national territory, the victims ended up by being exploited in farms in the preparation of the olive harvesting campaign. Many ended up deprived of their salary and physical violence was involved.
The detainees will be brought before the competent court tomorrow for the enforcement of the corresponding cautionary measures.
It is an investigation delegated on SEF by the Public Prosecution of Évora, as a result of a complaint. During this investigation, five other victims of trafficking, currently in safe houses, had already been flagged.
In total, 24 SEF operatives were involved.