Spanish police rescue 21 victims from exploitation in agricultural labour

15 human traffickers arrested in joint operation in Cantillana and Brenes, Sevilla

by Lorraine Williamson
exploitation victims

The Spanish National Police have successfully rescued 21 victims of labour exploitation in the agricultural sector. They have also apprehended 15 individuals involved in human trafficking.

The operation, carried out in the towns of Cantillana and Brenes in Sevilla, unfolded a shocking tale of organised crime. The perpetrators leading lavish lifestyles while subjecting their victims to appalling conditions.

The police action was initiated following intelligence about human trafficking victims in Brenes, Sevilla, who were exploited for agricultural work. The investigations revealed a criminal organisation comprising two family clans, leading luxurious lives at the expense of their victims.

False documents

The criminals engaged in identity falsification, manipulating authentic documents of Romanian and Moldovan nationals by altering photographs. This deceptive tactic allowed them to continue their illegal activities without detection.

Desperate victims, denied basic needs

The victims, primarily from Moldova and Romania, were lured from their home countries through deceptive job offers posted on social media and advertisements. The promised working conditions and salaries were fictitious, plunging the victims into dire circumstances during their exploitation. Transported by bus to Sevilla, the victims incurred debts for their journey, further heightening their vulnerability.

Upon arrival in Sevilla, the criminal organisation housed the victims in deplorable conditions in Brenes and Cantillana. The makeshift accommodations were rife with danger, featuring exposed and frayed wiring, dirty mattresses stacked on collection boxes, and significant mould and filth on the walls and in the bathroom. The victims were effectively controlled and unable to leave freely.

Cogesa Expats

Exploited to the point of exhaustion, the victims worked long hours in various agricultural tasks, with their primary focus on harvesting horticultural products. The traffickers denied them food and water during working hours, despite the high temperatures and physical exertion. Some victims resorted to scavenging for food in garbage bins just to survive.

Tragic consequences of exploitation

The dire situation led to alarming incidents, including one victim collapsing in a supermarket at the end of their workday. The criminals callously dragged the unconscious victim out of the store, emphasising the ruthless control they exerted. In a desperate bid to escape, another victim jumped from a window at the place of captivity, resulting in severe injuries.

The police investigation included seven raids in the Sevilla towns of Brenes and Cantillana, leading to the seizure of luxury vehicles, machetes, a pen gun, an extendable baton, high-end mobile phones, computers, storage devices, luxury watches, jewellery, over €37,000 in cash, and various documents linked to the criminal activities.

The operation concluded with the liberation of 21 victims from labour exploitation and the arrest of 15 individuals in Cantillana and Brenes. The charges include participation in a criminal organization, human trafficking for the purpose of labor exploitation, violations of foreign citizens’ rights, identity theft, and document forgery. The three main leaders of the organization have been remanded in custody following their appearance in court.

Also read: Human trafficking ring dismantled with victims prostituted 24/7

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