People trafficking “on increase in Portugal’s agriculture sector”

The image of leafy green vegetables and red fruits could not be further from that of modern-day people trafficking. Yet the reality is that in Portugal the two go hand-in-hand. Pedro Pimenta Braz, director-general of work, has been talking to TSF radio and explaining that “many tens of workers” are brought into the country to work in areas like the Alentejo, Ribatejo and North, in conditions that “offend human dignity” and have no place in the 21st century.

The situation “is far from being controlled”, Braz told the station, and it is not easy to detect as workers are often kept in isolated places by employers who do not declare their activity.

Braz’s authority ACT collaborates with border control agency SEF and the GNR to try and bring people traffickers to task, but he explained they are controlled by criminal networks in other countries.

The majority of people brought into Portugal by these networks are of Asian origin, Braz added, and many actually pay to come here, and then work in “degrading conditions”, often having to share living quarters with as many as 10 people to one small room.

TSF’s interview came on the eve of tomorrow’s International Day against People Trafficking.