SPAIN has freed a group of ‘modern day’ slaves from Lithuania that were being exploited in the Valencia region.
The Guardia Civil said that eight Lithuanian nationals, aged between 29 and 44 were rescued, whilst two fellow Lithuanians were arrested during the operation.
Raids were carried out in association with the Guardia’s counterparts in Lithuania.
The East Europeans worked as fruit-pickers, and their personal documents were seized in the Guardia operation, as well as bank cards and over €10,000 in cash, which is believed to have been taken from the people kept as slaves.
A man and a woman were detained, on suspicion of human trafficking, with two others also being investigated.
The criminals are believed to have operated internationally and taken advantage of their victims’ vulnerability, including a lack of language skills, limited financial possibilities, and social isolation.
The two detainees subjected the victims to tight control, and had them living in poor quality accommodation.
They were physically attacked as well as suffering threats and emotional abuse, to make sure that they told nobody about the exploitation.
Their bank accounts. into which their wages were deposited. were syphoned off by the gang leaders.
The Guardia praised the company that the exploited Lithuanians worked for, and who were totally unaware of their domestic circumstances.
They provided vital information and documentation that allowed the authorities to go through with the arrests of the traffickers and exploiters.