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21 Jan 2019

Namrata Sharma, Nepali Times

Finland: Restaurant owners found guilty of human trafficking & exploiting fellow Nepali workers

'Nepali restauranteurs fined in Finland', 20 Jan 2019

[F]our Nepali restauranteurs in Finland have been found guilty of human trafficking, discrimination and tax evasion...

Police started investigating the establishment after [a Nepali migrant restaurant worker] filed a complaint, and found two more Nepalis were also underpaid. [...]

[W]hen workers are brought to Finland through personal connection, they have to accept the salary offered so they can pay back loans. Few Nepali workers are willing to talk for fear of losing even the jobs they have, but the Finnish press has reported on South Asian restaurants selling work visas, trafficking, and violating Finnish labour and tax laws. 

Last month, Finnish District Court [...] found four Nepalis [...] guilty, fined them a total of € 227,199 and sentenced the main employer to prison for 1 year and eight months and another to six months. They also had to compensate [workers] with back pay. [...]

An agreement he signed with the owner set a full salary as per Finnish government rules, and working hours stipulated by local labour laws with weekends off. However, he was made to work round the clock with no weekends. The employer also opened two accounts in Maila’s name, one having salaries as per the contract to show the Finnish authorities...