By John Smith • 14 October 2017 • 9:48
THREE Portuguese men have been arrested in La Rioja accused of keeping compatriots in a state of “semi-slavery”.
All three are resident in Spain and ran a business which persuaded vulnerable Portuguese men, some of whom were alcoholics, to work as countryside labourers, promising to pay them €50 per day but in fact they received a s little as €15 for a 10 hour day as they were charged for food, overcrowded accommodation, transport, cigarettes and alcohol.
Once in Spain, the men were not allowed to contact relatives in Portugal and were threatened if they attempted to complain or tried to return home.
Officers from the Guardia Civil had kept a close watch on one of the three men who had been involved in similar activities in the area as well as the Basque country and discovered his accomplices as well as the fact that they were ‘renting out’ 40 men to different farmers in the area.
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Married to Ophelia in Gibraltar in 1978, John has spent much of his life travelling on security print and minting business and visited every continent except Antarctica.
Having retired several years ago, the couple moved to their house in Estepona and John became a regular news writer for the EWN Media Group taking particular interest in Finance, Gibraltar and Costa del Sol Social Scene.
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