“This workforce is fundamental in our country. If it weren't for so much foreign labour, so many migrants, we wouldn't even pick the olives, fruit, or vegetables that we need today, so it's necessary”, said Rui Garrido.

However, “this workforce has to be legalised”, the president of ACOS told Lusa.

Rui Garrido commented to the Lusa on the operation by the Judiciary Police, on Wednesday, in Baixo Alentejo, which led to the detention of 35 suspects allegedly belonging to a criminal network that hired foreign workers for agriculture in Baixo Alentejo.

A police source told Lusa on Wednesday that this network was made up of foreigners, namely Romanian families, and some Portuguese who gave them support.

"The several dozen victims of Romanian, Moldovan, Moroccan, Pakistani, and Senegalese nationalities were hired for farms in Beja, Cuba and Ferreira do Alentejo, among other places," the source said.

According to the president of ACOS, an institution based in Beja, “farmers associations have nothing to do with this, nor do farmers in general”, that is, with these human trafficking networks.

“I think it is very good that controls are carried out, and controls are increasingly tight because this workforce has to come and we are part of the problem, but we are here to help and collaborate to solve this problem,” he said.