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A court in the Netherlands has sentenced two directors of a staffing firm to several years in prison after claims of exploitation and sexual abuse came to light earlier this year. The firm, Flexitime, had assaulted several agency workers who were mainly from Poland.
The court in the Dutch town of Zwolle sentenced two of the directors to four and eight years in prison. The men, who were only identified as Mustafa B. and Ceylan S., had operated an illegal organisation, trafficking workers from abroad. The firm itself was fined €50,000.
Flexitime had also underpaid and robbed workers off their pay, and was involved in money laundering. The migrant workers were made financially dependent on their employer and were forced to live in shabby housing. Workers were harassed, beaten and threatened.
The court also heard of rape charges which led to the longer sentence of one of the directors. The assaults took place between January 2009 and October 2010. The remaining five members of the firm received prison sentences of between four and 18 months.
The court dismissed claims by the defendants that the workers had aligned their testimonies.
This has been an unusual case and the Dutch government is determined to abolish rogue agencies by 2014. A proactive package of measures, launched by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, allows members of the public to report suspicious employment agencies to the Labour Inspectorate by calling a national hotline number.