Several ten thousands of illegal Brasilians work on Belgian construction sites. They are also known as the ‘new Poles’. Journalists Nico Schoofs and Filip Michiels of Vacature Magazine lay bare the shady business behind the exploitation of those cheap labourers.

They encounter false identities, fake receipts, hazy chains of subcontractors and millions of euro of social and fiscal fraud. A tale in which Belgian building companies and Belgian accountants play a questionable role. From the Brasilian state Goias thousands of Brasilians leave for Belgium every year, numerous fake travel agencies making a handsome living out of the trade in cheap labour. The Belgian government, the International Organisation for Migration and the local Brasilian authorities now plan a campaign to keep the Brasilians out of the claws of those networks of human trafficking.

Team members

Filip Michiels

Filip Michiels (1969) is a Belgian independent journalist and works for De Standaard, Trends, Mediafin, Feeling and De Morgen magazine

A working grant of € 4.550 allocated on 09/03/2010.

need resources for your own investigative story?

Journalismfund Europe's flexible grants programmes enable journalists to produce relevant public interest stories with a European mind-set from international, national, and regional perspectives.


support independent cross-border investigative journalism

We rely on your support to continue the work that we do. Make a gift of any amount today.