The two brothers, who originate from Eastern Europe are accused of human trafficking, aiding illegal immigration and falsifying documents, while the two companies are accused of association to aid illegal immigration, according to the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF).

In a statement, the SEF states that, following an investigation, the four defendants have been charged “for strong evidence of the practice” of those crimes while also proposing the expulsion from national territory of the two brothers.

According to SEF, the two brothers “encouraged dozens of low-income compatriots to work in Portugal in the agricultural sector” and “driving them to various locations in Baixo Alentejo”, where they were taken “to lodging with precarious and overcrowded living conditions”.

Having contracted the provision of work with landowners, the two brothers “controlled and exploited foreigners, aiming to obtain high financial profits from this activity, despite the rights of the workers”.

As a rule, the two brothers “did not enter into employment contracts” with the victims and made them “perform agricultural functions, while keeping them living in inhumane conditions”.

They also deducted from the agreed salary the payment of rent for the houses where they spent the night, transportation to the places of work and expenses with food, water, electricity and gas.

The brothers also did not pay the victims overtime, vacation and Christmas allowances, “nor did they recognise their right to take paid vacations”.

“In numerous cases, faced with protests from workers, they were threatened by the defendants, physically attacked and expelled from their homes, having been left without accommodation and without food”, said SEF.