Police probe people smuggling gangs’ migrant worker exploitation in Cataluña

WORKER PROBE: Police and labour inspectors claimed migrants working in shops in Barcelona and elsewhere were being exploited. CREDIT: Shutterstock

NATIONAL POLICE officers and labour inspectors have undertaken hundreds of inspections in Catalan shops to probe criminal gangs’ alleged exploitation of migrant workers.

Investigators said some gangs were offering undocumented migrants false contracts to get them papers, sometimes fraudulently.

The migrants, typically from Pakistan and China, were then made to work long hours in inhuman conditions for pay with no social security or tax payments, police claimed.


Emilio de la Calle Sanchez, of the Central Unit of Illegal Immigration Networks and False Documentation (UCRIF) in Cataluña, said the migrants paid around €10,000 to get to Spain. Trafficking gangs were then forcing them to work in the shops after getting them into Spain on tourist visas, Calle Sanchez added.

Police said migrants who arrived in Barcelona and elsewhere in Cataluña were told they were in debt to the gangs.

Men were forced to work in the shops while women were prostituted. Migrants were forced to work 20 hours a day in some cases.

Investigations into the gangs continue.



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