Invisible Slavery In Europe

Modern slavery puts strawberries on our tables

Marbella is the location for the premiere of the documentary: “The Invisible. Modern slavery in Europe”, which tells the story of the situation of the workers involved in strawberry picking in Huelva. It was written and produced by the Swiss Sven Rufer for the Rosa de Luxemburgo International Foundation.

The “modern slavery” experienced by immigrants who work in the strawberry harvest in Huelva, with undignified working conditions, is the focus of the story. The documentary premiered in the competition section of the XVIII Marbella International Film Festival being held at the Red Dogs Cinema in Puerto Banús.

At the earlier presentation and discussion, the director, the Swiss Sven Rufer, said the documentary aims to show that, “this is not happening on the other side of the world, but in Spain, an EU country and popular holiday destination”.

It is an ambitious production in 4K feature film format, shot entirely in the province of Huelva. It deals with the economic, socio-labour and personal situations to which thousands of migrant farm workers in Huelva’s red fruit sector are subjected. Without this workforce it would be impossible for the strawberry industry in the area to survive.

The documentary includes shocking images never seen before, some of them obtained for the first time inside the Huelva farms themselves during the hard working days. A doctoral student from the University of Berne reports on the working conditions and health consequences of these precarious living situations.

The student’s conversations with representatives of trade unions, journalism, politics and academia show that there are no simple solutions and that, “Spain, the EU, the big distributors and other speculators don’t seem to want to change anything”.

“Fruits don’t end up just anywhere, but in our supermarkets and finally on everyone’s plate. For me it is an important issue to bring it to the screen, to raise awareness and give voice to the invisible,” the director of the film concluded.

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Written by

Kevin Fraser Park

Kevin was born in Scotland and worked in marketing, running his own businesses in UK, Italy and, for the last 8 years, here in Spain. He moved to the Costa del Sol in 2016 working initially in real estate. He has a passion for literature and particularly the English language which is how he got into writing.


    • Concha

      08 October 2023 • 13:59

      The only difference in Murcia is there are no strawberries, but watermelons, iceberg lettuce and many other fruits and vegetables. These poor workers are living and working in terrible conditions, shanty towns, made of pallets and plastic sheeting for shelter… one of which caught on fire a couple of years ago; fortunately, there were no injuries.
      They are hauled around the countryside, squashed inside very old diesel vehicles, which belch out thick, black exhaust smoke, often at break-neck speeds.
      This is a disgusting practice, but while there are a few Spanish producers who are getting very rich, and northern Europeans are getting plenty of fruit and vegetables, nothing changes, and these poor people will continue to be exploited.
      Now lets just mention the HUGE amount of water that is needed to produce these succulent fruit, in a dry land, where habitats are suffering and wildlife is dying… … …. Shame! Shame on Spain and the EU!

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