Thai-led human trafficking sent 1,000 victims to Finland

PHOTO: Finnish and Thai authorities worked together to break up a fruit-picking human trafficking ring. (via Thairath)

About 1,000 Thai people were scammed in a human trafficking plot that sent them to Finland to work. Officials from the Thai police force teamed up with their Finnish counterparts to bust the ring that was enticing Thai people to Finland to pick fruit and trick them into indentured servitude.

The scheme invited Thai workers to travel abroad to Finland for a lucrative job picking wild berries and other fruit for the season. Interested applicants were pre-billed a hefty 50,000 baht fee to start, assumedly promised it would be subtracted by their soon-to-come high wages.

Once they arrived in Finland, the employment and situation was not nearly as rosy though. They were victims of human trafficking. Their passports were seized by their new employers and they were informed that their mere arrival had incurred significantly more debt than they had previously been led to believe.

Thai victims were then sent to undergo exhausting labour to earn money and pay off their debt. They would be forced to work between 14 and 18 hours each day, picking fruit. Their earnings were docked to pay back the alleged debt.

After uncovering the human trafficking plot, police in the Ratchada area of Bangkok worked with their Finnish counterparts to bring the perpetrators to justice. The probe was led by the Department of Special Investigation and involved many different state agencies in Thailand and the Finnish police.

In the end, the investigation uncovered a Thai man and a Thai woman, thought to be the leaders or higher-ups in the human trafficking ring. The DSI and other agencies searched for a location thought to be the Bangkok base for the two to recruit victims to travel to Finland. According to ASEAN Now, they coordinated with the Finnish police to have search warrants issued to track down the ringleaders.

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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