Lisbon/Madrid - Police in Spain and Portugal arrested 28 people and broke up a criminal gang that kept around 3,000 Portuguese workers in slave-like conditions, reports said Tuesday.
Two suspects had managed to escape to Switzerland, the reports said.
In 2005 the gang had recruited its victims in northern Portugal, promising them work in Spain and monthly wages of around 700 euros (1,095 dollars).
On arrival in Spain, the victims were locked into shacks and had to work until exhaustion, while the gang retained the promised wages for food and lodging, investigators said.
The gang chose people from particularly vulnerable groups including the homeless, drug addicts, alcoholics, illiterates and mentally handicapped persons.
As soon as victims were no longer capable of working, the gang brought them back to Portugal and abandoned them. (dpa)
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