Yorick Jansens

Labour prosecutors face biggest people-trafficking case ever

The Belgian judicial authorities have identified over one hundred people connected to the Borealis plant in the port of Antwerp that they believe are victims of people-traffickers.  Initially 55 Filipino and Bangladeshi men had been recognised, but the investigation by the labour public prosecutor has revealed scores of Turks also became victims of economic exploitation.

Last week it emerged 55 Filipino and Bangladeshi suspected victims of people traffickers had been identified on a construction site at the Borealis chemicals plant.  They were believed to be employed illegally, working for a pittance and housed in poor accommodation.  The judicial authorities launched an investigation prompting more suspected victims to come forward.  Over one hundred people of various nationalities including many Turks have been identified. 

Pieter Wyckaert of the labour prosecutor’s office says accommodation now needs to be found for these people.  “Regular accommodation for victims of people-trafficking is already full.  Some victims have found places as far afield as Liege”.  “It remains a problem” says Wyckaert “as people keep on coming forward every day”.

“This is a case of unprecedented size.  It’s the biggest we have ever considered.  We are executing the investigation to the best of our abilities but the number of investigators and reception places is limited.”

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