More than 50 emigrants of Romanian origin were located on a farm in the province of Limburg, in the southeastern Netherlands, where they lived and worked under “degrading” and “dehumanizing conditions“, and – they denounced – they even received physical punishment, said Mayor Stef Strous on Tuesday.
During a joint inspection by the Aliens Police, the Labor Inspectorate and the Maasgouw Municipality, the authorities located at least fifty people, all of Romanian nationality, crammed into “appalling and dangerous conditions” in an agricultural complex in the town of Linne, Maasgouw Township.
Speaking to the media, the mayor stressed that “he has rarely witnessed something as degrading” as what was discovered in the inspection, which took place last Thursday, and described the conditions in which the emigrants were found as “dehumanized”, and he stressed that many were afraid of the foreman in charge.
“That man contributed to creating a very unpleasant atmosphere on the site. Even when we arrived at the site, he showed a intimidating behavior, both towards officials and migrant workers. Investigations showed that there would also have been violence against migrants, which makes things much worse, “he added.
The Romanian citizens were staying in the outbuildings of the farm, which had makeshift bedrooms and a dining room, and there were about seventy beds and bunk beds up to the ceiling; the space was “unsafe”, “very old” and “dirty”; there was also no ventilation and some windows had bars, according to the municipality.
The couple who owned the farm had a folder with copies of the identity documents of all the people located in the agricultural complexAlthough at the moment there have been no detainees, but the investigation remains open.
It is not clear where the fifty Romanian emigrants are located, although, given that they are European citizens with the right to work in Schengen territory, they were not in a situation of illegality.
According to 2018 figures, there are some 500,000 people considered “migrant workers” in the Netherlands from European Union countries, but only a quarter of the total are registered in the national database, and the place where the rest live is unknown, according to the Dutch newspaper AD.
On June 2020, the labor inspectorate (SZW) closed a farm in the North Brabant area, after discovering that a total of 44 employees had to work every day of the week, up to 14 hours a day, planting asparagus.