Working conditions in the meat industry have made headlines after COVID-19 outbreaks in slaughterhouses. Investigators are turning their attention to subcontracters suspected of smuggling in migrant workers illegally.
Around 800 officers launched raids on more than 40 premises in five German states in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
The companies targeted are accused of bringing people into Germany from eastern Europe with forged or falsified documents. The names of the companies have not yet been released
Authorities were looking to cast “light into the shadows,” a police spokesman told the news agency AFP.
Read more: German slaughterhouse overhaul: Radical reform or return to status quo?
Police said they had documented a recent increase in people stopped at Germany’s borders traveling on false documents.
The raids are primarily being carried out in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt, police said.
Further searches are being conducted in Lower Saxony in Berlin, Saxony and North Rhine Westphalia.
wmr/rt (AFP, dpa)