Police are investigating the alleged exploitation of Vietnamese people brought to work on vegetable farms on the west coast of Ostrobothnia.
According to the Hufvudstadsbladet (HBL), dozens of Vietnamese workers are suspected of being blackmailed and possibly trafficked in the small village of Närpiö in western Finland.
The suspects in the case are a Vietnamese couple and two greenhouse entrepreneurs in Närpiö, a Swedish-language newspaper said on Sunday.
According to the newspaper, the Vietnamese broker has charged the countrymen 10,000-20,000 euros each for bringing them to work in greenhouses in Finland. "systematic and long-term import of Vietnamese labor".
Upon arrival, they have received assistance in arranging the necessary permits, after which they are immediately hired. There are newcomers, couples and families with children.
According to local sources, some of the newly arrived workers are housed in cramped, rudimentary and isolated spaces. Without knowledge of Finnish law, speaking Finnish or Swedish (the prevailing local language), they have not been able to question their inhumane working conditions.
Local couple in custody
The Ostrobothnian District Court officially arrested a well-known Vietnamese business couple on Friday, the newspaper said. Two other suspects were apprehended.
Yle said on Friday that the Central Criminal Police has cooperated with the Helsinki and Ostrobothnian police in an extensive financial crime investigation into Närpiie and Vaasa, and two people have been arrested. The case was then reported to involve blackmail, illegal entry and exploitation of workers.
According to the HBL, charges may include suspected trafficking by the time the case is handed over to the prosecutor.
"We currently have four victims who have agreed to talk to the police. We suspect there may have been dozens of people over several years, but so far none of them have wanted to say anything," said the inspector Pekka Hätönen, who heads the human trafficking unit of the Helsinki Police Department.
Meanwhile, Ostrobothnian police are investigating two local greenhouse entrepreneurs on other possible criminal charges. According to HBL, one of them is a major player in the region and some of the workers brought to Finland in inappropriate conditions have mainly worked in his greenhouse. The owner of the greenhouse is not suspected of extortion at this stage, but is being investigated for financial misconduct.
Source: The Nordic Page