In a statement sent to the Lusa agency, the SEF specified that the investigation was being carried out under the coordination of the Public Prosecutor's Office and that, in the last week, an operation was carried out which made it possible to set up a national citizen as well as the company he owns.

The press release explains that the man is suspected of "exploiting foreign workers, mainly from the Indian peninsula [consisting of countries such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh]", who are illegally staying on national territory.

The suspect allegedly does not pay wages for his work and in some cases, as confirmed in the course of the action, requires workers to pay monetary amounts as a prerequisite for establishing an employment relationship, says the SEF.

"There were searches of vehicles and the residence of the defendant in the Almada area and a house in the vicinity of Covilhã, where the workers were placed without the minimum conditions of habitability and where six foreign citizens were identified", details the information.

The defendant was subject to the measure of coercion of a term of identity and residence.

SEF's investigation began in October and counted on the collaboration of a non-governmental organisation dedicated to the support of victims of crime trafficking in human beings.

Two dozen SEF operatives were involved in the operation.