Court tears up €300,000 fine for asparagus farmer with ‘nothing left’

A court in Den Bosch has torn up €300,000 in fines handed down to an asparagus farmer for exploiting her workers and employing illegal immigrants ‘because she has nothing left’.

The woman was sentenced to three years in jail in 2011 for 33 infringements of minimum wage and employment legislation and for employing illegal immigrants.

She was said to have forced people to work seven days a week, for 10 to 14 hours a day. They were unable to leave the farm because J withheld their earnings until the end of the season.


The investigation into the woman began after local mayor Alfred Veltman said conditions on the asparagus farm were akin to slavery. Social affairs ministry inspectors found 50 people living on the farm in a dirty room without windows.

At today’s hearing, the court ruled the fines were ‘unreasonably high’. The woman’s house and company have been sold at auction, she now lives with her mother and has no income. ‘The fines would unfairly affect the woman given her financial situation,’ the court statement said.

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