Justice investigates human trafficking at Flemish BASF subcontractors

Legal authorities are investigating possible incidents of human trafficking among subcontractors of chemical group BASF in Belgium, the West Flanders labour auditorate confirmed on Thursday. A total of 53 undocumented Filipino workers were supposedly employed by the companies involved.

In the aftermath of a previous criminal investigatoin into similar facts at a Borealis construction site in Antwerp, a recruitment agency from Izegem (West Flanders province) allegedly tried to recruit workers from among the victims. The Filipino workers did not have work permits, but Transcend Jobs nevertheless arranged work for them through one of its clients. Through this company, nine people were subsequently seconded by a Limburg-based service voucher company to work as welders and pipe fitters for BASF in Antwerp.

The victims did not have work permits, but this was circumvented by using fake national register numbers.

Based on this information, an inspection was carried out by the inspection services in the second half of August. Another 44 Filipino workers were found at the yard in question. The victims did not have work permits, but this was apparently circumvented by using fake national register numbers.

The West Flanders labour auditorate opened an investigation into counts of human trafficking, illegal employment and undeclared work. The investigation focuses on the activities of Transcend Jobs and the people involved in that company. "It is now up to the investigating judge to bring out the truth", said labour auditor Filiep De Ketelaere. There are currently no arrests in the case.




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