Following an investigation carried out by the Immigration and Borders Service (SEF), the Department of Investigation and Penal Action of Évora has indicted two foreign nationals and two single-member companies for strong evidence of trafficking in human beings, association in assisting unlawful immigration, assisting unlawful immigration and falsification of documents. In addition, the Public Prosecution has proposed the application of the supplementary penalty of expulsion from the national territory.
The defendants, two brothers from Eastern Europe, have lured tens of fellow-countrymen of low economic condition to work in Portugal in the farming sector.
They would manage their transport to several locations of Baixo Alentejo, and, once there, they would lead them to accommodation with precarious and overloaded living conditions.
With a contract of working providers with the owners of the estates, they would raise, control and exploit the foreign nationals, with the purpose to obtain financial profit with that activity, despite the rights of the workers.
In general, they would not conclude contracts of employment and would place the victims into farming activities, keeping them living in inhumane conditions. The payment of the rents of the homes they would sleep in would be deducted from their wages, as well as the transport to work, food, water, lighting and gas.
On the other hand, their overtime would not be paid, nor vacation allowances or Christmas bonus, neither the right for waged holidays.
In several cases, and before the complaint of the workers, these were threatened by the defendants, physically assaulted and evicted from their homes, and left with no accommodation nor food.