Finland Trafficking Trial Begins for Thai Berry Pickers -

Finland Trafficking Trial Begins for Thai Berry Pickers

  • Published on
    December 14, 2017
  • Written by:
    Jamison Liang
  • Category:
    Debt Bondage, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking, Law & Policy
Hero Banner

The trial of a Finnish entrepreneur charged with human trafficking Thai berry pickers has begun in Finland. The migrant workers were brought to Finland in the summer of 2016, but found themselves in situations of forced labor. The prosecution is calling for the businessman to be sentenced to more than three years in prison and to be barred from running another business. They also want him to pay 60,000 Euros in damages.

YLE News reports that much of the case centers on debt bondage:

According to the prosecutor, some of the plaintiffs were first timers who came to Finland to do berry picking. However they felt that they were had been lured into a trap with vague promises about the working conditions they would find and eventually exploited.

The labourers had borrowed money make the trip to Finland, with the intention of using the income earned from berry picking to paying off their debts. The workers generally borrowed enough to cover half of the cost of the trip, some 35,000 baht, or just short of 1,000 euros.

The accused has denied all of the charges brought against him.

The Thai workers testified in court that they had to live in makeshift accommodations, including old buses and trailers. However, the defense has argued that these conditions were adequate.

The berry pickers also explained that their boss confiscated their passports — an indicator of forced labor according to the International Labour Organization — meaning that they had no ability to leave.

Finnish legal experts say this case will test what constitutes human trafficking under national law. Turku University Labour Law Professor Seppo Koskinen said that “Human trafficking has been seen as a very unusual offence. If the minimum criteria are constantly falling, the original intent of the legislation will no longer be satisfied.”

The verdict in the trial is expected early next year.

Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

This week

Four years on, has Australia's Modern Slavery Act been effective?

An independent review of Australia's Modern Slavery Act has concluded that the legislation is failing to have a significant impact on curbing modern slavery and urges the Australian government to implement recommendations to strengthen the law. The Australian government must act According to the latest Global Slavery Index released by international human rights organization Walk Free, an estimated 50 million people were in situations of modern slavery

| Wednesday May 31, 2023

Read more