A raid on an illegal tobacco factory in northern Spain found 10. Ukrainian workers being forced to work long hours for very little pay. And without valid employment contracts, a Spanish Civil Guard officer said Monday.
Civil Guard Captain Carlos Carrasco said half of Ukraine’s men are living in Spain as refugees. Only one carried a Spanish identity card for foreigners. And was believed to be responsible for luring the rest to the factory. “These companies know that (these people) are in vulnerable situations. And offer them very low pay and long hours,” Carrasco said.
Carrasco, who oversaw the operation at the factory in La Rioja, said authorities suspected. Ukrainians were victims of human trafficking because of the appalling living conditions there.
“The dormitories were dirty, mattresses piled on the floor, very little hygiene.” Carrasco said of the prefabricated units where the workers lived.
Human trafficking was later abolished. As the Ukrainians were allowed to keep their documentation. And mobile phones when the doors were not locked, although they did not go out to avoid detection.
The factory was one of three targeted. By security forces in a nationwide operation against a criminal tobacco smuggling ring. They arrested a total of 27 people. And seized 37.5 million euros ($41 million) worth of cigarettes and tobacco leaves.
Luxury vehicles, jewelery and huge amount of cash owned by the ring leaders were seized during the raids. More than 20 houses, industrial buildings and shops were searched.
There are more than 150,000 Ukrainian refugees in Spain. Who have been granted temporary status protection after fleeing their war-torn country.