Suspected human trafficking in berry picking business investigated by police and Border Guard
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Border Guard and the Helsinki Police Department investigate suspected human trafficking in connection with a Finnish berry company. Two persons have been remanded on suspicion of trafficking in human beings.
The police and the Border Guard investigate a large case involving suspected human trafficking of Thai berry pickers working in Finland in 2020–2022. The focus of the criminal investigation is on a berry company based in Northern Finland and a Thai company recruiting berry pickers to Finland.
On Saturday 1 October, two persons were remanded by the Oulu District Court on probable cause of trafficking in human beings.
It is suspected that human trafficking has been committed within the activities of a berry company in Northern Finland. It is believed that Thai berry pickers who have come to work in Finland as seasonal workers have been deceived, exploited and subjected to forced labour.
Competent authorities across the country have worked to together to inspect camps intended for accommodating berry pickers.
– The police suspect that the berry pickers have been dependent of their employer in a way typical of human trafficking and, for example, have been provided with poor accommodation. The authorities estimate that up to several dozen berry pickers have become victims of human trafficking, and many of them are not necessarily aware that they have become victims of crime, says Head of Investigation, Detective Superintendent Teemu Mäntyniemi of the NBI.
The criminal investigation is still ongoing, and the police will release more information, if possible, as the investigation goes on. The investigation is carried out in close cooperation with the Lapland Police Department.