Cheap, Expendable and Imperiled The Systematic Exploitation of Harvest Workers in Europe

Millions of seasonal workers across the Continent are responsible for picking much of the low-cost produce available in European supermarkets. But an international research project reveals that many of these workers face abysmal conditions – and the COVID-19 crisis has made things even worse.
By Nils Klawitter, Steffen Lüdke und Hannes Schrader, with additional reporting by Stavros Malichudis
Seasonal worker George Mitache in front of his home in the Romanian village of Băcani: "We were basically locked away.”

Seasonal worker George Mitache in front of his home in the Romanian village of Băcani: "We were basically locked away.”

Foto: Ioana Moldovan / Est&Ost / DER SPIEGEL
Worker housing in Spain's Huelva region: Europe’s most powerful instrument for agricultural policy doesn’t take human welfare standards into account.

Worker housing in Spain's Huelva region: Europe’s most powerful instrument for agricultural policy doesn’t take human welfare standards into account.

Foto: Zach Campbell / DER SPIEGEL
Field workers in the Huelva region

Field workers in the Huelva region

Foto: Zach Campbell / DER SPIEGEL
Andalusian trade unionist José Antonio Brazo argues that systematic exploitation is taking place.

Andalusian trade unionist José Antonio Brazo argues that systematic exploitation is taking place.

Foto: Zach Campbell / DER SPIEGEL
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