Friday, March 31, 2023

Spain: illegal tobacco plant exploited 10 citizens of Ukraine

MADRID ( Associated Press) — A raid on an illegal tobacco factory in northern Spain found 10 Ukrainians who were forced to work long hours for very low pay and without valid work contracts, a civil guard official said Monday. Told.

The captain of the Civil Guard, Carlos Carrasco, reported that half of the Ukrainians lived in refugee status in Spain. Only one had a Spanish identity card for foreigners, and it is believed that he was responsible for driving his countrymen into the factory.

“These organizations know they are in a vulnerable position and offer them very low wages and intense hours,” Carrasco said.

The official, who oversaw the raid on the factory in La Rioja, said that the dire living conditions there initially led authorities to suspect that the Ukrainians were victims of human trafficking.

“The bathrooms were dirty, (there were) mattresses piled on the floor, very poor sanitation,” Carrasco said of the prefab units the workers lived in.

Later, human trafficking was ruled out as the Ukrainians were allowed to keep their documents and mobile phones, and the doors were not locked, although they did not leave because they were found out.

The factory was one of three searched by security forces in a nationwide operation against the tobacco smuggling ring. Agents arrested 27 people and seized cigarettes and tobacco leaves worth 37.5 million euros ($41 million).

The leaders of the plot were in possession of luxury vehicles, jewelry and huge amount of cash which was seized in the operation. Some 20 houses, industrial buildings and shops were registered.

More than 150,000 Ukrainian refugees live in Spain, having found temporary protection after fleeing the war-torn country.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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