The EDATI team of the Guardia Civil in Torrevieja, which deals with immigrants in the municipality, has confirmed that following extensive vigilance work during February, that it has been able to dismantle an operation which abused illegal immigrants and has arrested three individuals on suspicion of crimes against workers’ rights.
The arrests follow complaints over the last few months from a number of immigrants, most of them Bulgarian, who reported that they were being forced to work long hours in the fields of Murcia and Almería without contracts or social security. In February officers detained three people who were following a bus carrying agricultural workers, almost all of whom were without contracts and for whom no Social Security payments were being made.
It seems that the workers were attracted to Spain by the offer of contracted employment in the fields at a rate of forty euros per day and help in renting apartments, but on their arrival were horded into overcrowded flats and forced to pay deposits on their rental. Their identity documents were taken away on the pretext that they were needed in order to draw up contracts, and the workers were then taken every day by bus to fields up to two hours away from Torrevieja. On top of this a bus fare of 8€ was demanded. They then worked for nine hours and in most cases were able to earn only 20€ a day.
The immigrants were thus forced to live in the most absolute poverty while working illegally, unable to earn enough even to eat properly, let alone to travel back to their homes.
There are many cases of this type of abuse across the agricultural areas of Spain and although intense efforts are made by employment inspection teams, vulnerable individuals who are desperate for work often find themselves in situations such as this. This is why the Spanish government fight so hard to stop illegal immigrants entering Spain in the first place and then offer a payments scheme to help repatriate them back to their country of origin should they make it across the border.
A great deal of coverage has been given to the immigration issues recently in the Spanish News Today product, due to intense pressure on the Spanish borders.
The three men arrested, all Bulgarian, are aged between 23 and 46, and will now face trial in Torrevieja.
Image: Agricultural field workers. Copyright Valencia Today
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