TS: Forced labour, sexual abuse at Naantali horse shelter

Turun Sanomat reports that girls aged between 12 and 20 were mistreated at a stable owned by the Turku Animal Shelter.

File photo not connected to the case. Image: YLE / Anna Sirén

Dozens of young people have been victims of mistreatment at an equestrian centre in Naantali owned by the Turku Animal Shelter, Turku-based daily Turun Sanomat has reported (siirryt toiseen palveluun).

The paper alleges that girls between the ages of 12 and 20 have been subjected to sexual acts of varying degrees throughout the ten years the stable has been up and running.

There is also evidence of forced labour, and suspicions that young volunteers were encouraged to starve and beat the horses, TS wrote.

The Police Department of Southwest Finland previously confirmed to Turun Sanomat that four criminal reports have been filed in connection with the case. After the publication of the article, the department tweeted on Tuesday morning that they had received several further reports of suspected crimes in connection with the centre.

The couple running the stable has collaborated with the Turku Animal Shelter, which is the registered owner of the centre.

The association published a statement on its Facebook page (siirryt toiseen palveluun) (in Finnish) in which it accuses the newspaper of spreading misinformation, and added that it will respond to the "false allegations" made in the article as soon as possible.

Story updated on 25.5.2021 at 11:28 to include update on crime reports from the Police Department fo Southwest Finland. The department has asked anyone with any information to contact them by email vihjeet.lounais-suomi@poliisi.fi.