In a statement, the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) explained that the Public Ministry (MP) has charged a foreign man and a foreign woman, 77 and 57 years old, respectively.

The indictment, filed "this week", a source from SEF told Lusa, also targets a company owned by the foreign man, for crimes of human trafficking, aiding illegal immigration and procuring illegal labour.

This case goes back to an investigation called "Espace" which started in December 2019, by SEF, in the Alentejo region.

In this investigation, "three victims of human trafficking of foreign nationality were identified", more precisely "a couple, aged 40 and 46, and their 21-year-old son", SEF revealed.

These people were recruited "in their country of origin, to work for the defendants without obeying the legal formalities required for this purpose".

"Of the trafficking victims, the man came first to Portugal, and was later joined by his wife and son," he reported.

The aim of the three was "to rebuild their lives here, working for the defendants in the construction and maintenance of a tourist resort where they would have their own house".

"The couple and their son ended up in total dependence on the defendants, subject to increasing demands, with the imposition of excessive working hours, without the right to time off and without payment of the agreed wage conditions," SEF said.

According to the statement, "the defendants also recruited other foreign workers in an irregular situation in Portugal, taking advantage of their precarious and vulnerable situation".

The operational action to comply with court warrants was carried out by SEF in October 2020.

One of the defendants, after being presented to court, was subject to pre-trial detention, but currently this measure of coercion is transformed into the obligation to stay at home.

According to the SEF, "the victims returned to their country of origin of their own free will".