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Human trafficking charges filed against berry entrepreneur

A total of 26 Thai plaintiffs are involved in a case brought against a man in central Finland for human trafficking. The more than two dozen berry-pickers are thought to have been held in conditions likened to forced labour.

Henkilö pitelee kädessään varrellista marjapoimuria ja ämpäriä.
Berry-picking is a physically demanding form of labour. Image: Jarkko Riikonen / Yle Keski-Suomi

Central Finland district prosecutor Leena Hakavuori has pressed human trafficking charges against a local entrepreneur on Wednesday.

The charge is based on the man's berry-picking company's activities, namely its use of pickers recruited from Thailand. The accused is suspected of keeping 26 Thai workers in forced labour and in conditions violating human dignity.

Police performed a home search and investigation last August, as well as preliminary interviews with all of the workers enlisted in the company.

Police spoke with 183 Thai berry-pickers, 42 of whom spoke of poor working conditions they wanted authorities to investigate.

The accused has denied being guilty of the crimes.

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