Ship's Captain Arrested in Spain on Suspicion of Human Trafficking and Forced Labor

Spanish police arrested the captain of a ship in Cartagena following the interception of a vessel allegedly used for the illegal transport and forced labor of migrants, officials said on Saturday, November 27.

Guardia Civil, one of Spain’s national police forces, said in a press release that eight Syrian nationals – alleged victims of a criminal organization operating the ship – had been released.

Upon boarding the ship, police said they found falsified documents that depicted at least one of the Syrian nationals as a crew member and that the ship was allegedly disguised as a merchant’s vessel.

They added that the Syrians on board “lacked training or qualifications for maritime tasks” but “had apparently been forced to work on the ship under exploitative labor conditions” over several months.

“Collaboration between European agencies revealed that the aforementioned ship would have changed its name up to three times, making it difficult to track and monitor,” the Guardia Civil said.

The ship’s captain was arrested on suspicion of belonging to a criminal organization, violating the rights of foreign citizens, and falsifying official documents. Credit: Guardia Civil via Storyful