News/Portugal: Portugal police break prostitution, smuggling ring

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Subject: News/Portugal: Portugal police break prostitution, smuggling ring
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Fri Jun 16 2000 - 12:19:25 EDT


            Portugal police break prostitution, smuggling ring

  Reuters Ltd.

     LISBON, Portugal (Reuters) - Portuguese police said Monday they had
arrested 22 people and broken a criminal organization that smuggled
construction workers and prostitutes into the country.
      A statement said police conducted a series of raids in six cities
across the country Sunday after several months of investigations into the
organization. Police said they also uncovered evidence of money-laundering.
      "They (the crimes) involved rings to recruit women from Eastern Europe
by offering legal employment as 'bait,' and promoting prostitution in an
organized way," the statement said.
      Police investigations also covered the alleged smuggling of men, also
from Eastern Europe, into Portugal to work in the construction industry.
      Portugal for decades has sent waves of migrant workers to its
wealthier European neighbors, but has in recent years also seen a novel
inflow of would-be workers without permits from Eastern Europe.
      A press report last week said the Portuguese government would grant
temporary residency to undocumented workers so long as they were sponsored
by an employer. The new measure was expected to ease a labor shortage and
benefit between 30,000 and 40,000 workers.
   REUTERS


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