BUCHAREST - 'The New Slave Trade in the Heart of Europe': poor people are being lured from Eastern Europe to the Czech Republic for forced labour. Some of the worst gangsters are now on trial but there is no sign of this evil trade coming to an end.
While pricey restaurants in Berlin or Amsterdam serve fresh asparagus plucked from fields in the Czech Republic, none of the appreciative diners has the slightest idea that this much-loved item is only on their dinner plates thanks to the backbreaking work carried out by modern-day slaves - men and women lured from poor countries on false pretences and then held captive - beaten and threatened by armed guards if they ask for food, their wages or try to escape.
Adrian Mogoş, Petru Zoltan, Doru Cobuz (Romania), Vitalie Călugăreanu (Moldova) and Vlad Lavrov (Ukraine) spent three months investigating the cultivation of asparagus in Romania, the Czech Republic, Moldova, Transnistria - a breakaway state from Moldova - Ukraine and The Netherlands. The research led them to a criminal network of Ukrainian-run gangs that recruited hundreds of people to work as slaves in Bohemia.
Dutch follow-up "Modern Slavery" by Journeyman Pictures.
Newspaper article in two parts.
Published in Jurnalul National on 28 and 29 December 2009.
Câmpiile terorii, noul comerţ cu sclavi în inima Europei (I)
Câmpiile terorii, noul comerţ cu sclavi în inima Europei (II)
need resources for your own investigative story?
Journalismfund Europe's flexible grants programmes enable journalists to produce relevant public interest stories with a European mind-set from international, national, and regional perspectives.
support independent cross-border investigative journalism
We rely on your support to continue the work that we do. Make a gift of any amount today.