WORKING with Europol and the Bulgarian Police, officers from the Guardia Civil have arrested four Bulgarians who are being charged with trafficking of human beings for labour exploitation as well as belonging to a criminal organisation.
The investigation began when officers noted a significant number of Bulgarians harvesting in the citrus orchards of Valencia and then moving on to other parts of Spain. At that stage, the officers suspected that they were being treated improperly and as investigations continued a very unsavoury story unfolded.
These workers had been recruited from the region of Pleven in Bulgaria through false promises of well-paid work and decent accommodation but it turned out that these workers who were driven to Spain were treated more or less as slaves.
They were kept in crowded, unsanitary conditions with no hot water and wages were withheld as they were told that they had to repay the cost of transportation as well as for their bed and boards with the consequence that some received €50 for two months work in the fields.
Naturally no tax or social security payments were made and the workers had no contract of employment.
When the officers raided two houses, one in Cuellar in the province of Segovia and the other in Bahabon in Valladolid, they released 33 people and arrested the four who had kept them in servitude.