Ten Ukrainian Refugees Were Exploited in Spanish Black Market Factory, Police Say

Detail of Guardia Civil (Police) cars in Spain
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A raid on an illegal tobacco factory in northern Spain found 10 Ukrainian laborers who were being exploited, a Spanish Civil Guard spokesperson said Monday.

The spokesperson told the Associated Press that half of the Ukrainians were living in Spain under refugees status.

The spokesperson said the raid on the plant in La Rioja, found workers living in overcrowded prefabricated units inside the factory to avoid being seen outside. They worked long hours but didn´t have a legal work contract, the spokesperson said, who spoke on customary condition of anonymity.

The factory was one of three that security forces targeted in a nationwide operation against a criminal tobacco smuggling organization. They arrested a total of 27 people and seized cigarettes and tobacco leaves worth 37.5 million euros ($41 million).

The ring leaders owned luxury vehicles, jewelry and large quantities of cash that were seized during the raid. Over 20 residences, industrial buildings and shops were searched. Spain is home to over 150,000 Ukrainian refugees, who have been granted temporary status protection after fleeing their war-torn country.


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