Portugal arrests 35 over migrant trafficking
November 23, 2022 09:00 PM
Portuguese authorities have arrested 35 people in the south of the country for alleged human trafficking, money laundering and falsifying documents, police announced on Wednesday.
"The suspects are part of a criminal structure dedicated to the exploitation of migrant workers, most of whom have been lured from their home countries to work on farms" in the Alentejo region, police said.
The suspects, both men and women from Portugal and elsewhere in Europe, are aged between 22 and 58, the police added without giving further details.
The dozens of victims of human trafficking who have been identified come from Algeria, India, Moldova, Morocco, Pakistan, Romania and Senegal, according to the authorities.
"These migrants were working in inhumane conditions with very low wages and living in dilapidated houses," a police source told AFP.
"They were also restricted in their movement as their identity documents were confiscated," added the source, who described the scale of the arrests as "unusual" in a region that employs many migrant workers in the agricultural sector.
The police raids had been prepared since January and involved some 400 judicial police inspectors who conducted 65 searches in the municipalities of Beja, Serpa, Cuba and Ferreira do Alentejo.
According to a report by a Council of Europe expert group, Portuguese authorities reported 1,152 victims of this type of trafficking network between 2016 and 2020.