Quantcast

Mexico rescues 275 workers from ‘slavery’

By Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, June 12, 2013 8:47 EDT
google plus icon
An indigenous woman of Veracruz state carries her child at a tomato processing plant in Toliman, Jalisco state, Mexico on June 11, 2013 via AFP
 
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Email this page

Mexican authorities have rescued at least 275 people who were being held in slave-like conditions at a camp where tomatoes are sorted and packed for export, officials said.

Thirty-nine teenagers were among those being held against their will at the Bioparques de Occidente camp in Toliman, in the western state of Jalisco, regional prosecutor Salvador Gonzalez said late Tuesday.

Five foremen were arrested for “grave violations and crimes, including the illegal privation of liberty and human trafficking,” Gonzalez told AFP.

The victims were rescued when a worker escaped and made it to the state capital Jalisco to file a complaint.

Gonzalez said the contractors ran ads on the radio seeking workers, and offered room and board.

But when the workers arrived they found themselves in overcrowded housing and were paid half of what had been offered, much of it delivered in vouchers redeemable at the company store, where items were sold at a high markup.

One of the victims, Valentin Hernandez, went to work at the site with his wife and children. He told AFP he was housed in a tiny room with two other couples who also had children.

“The food was rancid and rotten. They held us as slaves,” Hernandez said.

“They told us that we could leave if we wanted to, but they didn’t let us. They would hide our belongings and threaten us to stay. And if someone tried to escape and they were discovered, they were brought back and beaten.”

Gonzalez said as many as 280 people may have been held against their will at the site.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
By commenting, you agree to our terms of service
and to abide by our commenting policy.
 
Google+