In other words, do the work you contracted to carry out, or hit the bricks.

I was wrong, Finnish resolve and prudence carried the day.

“We will make a decision with our lawyer in the next couple of days on how we can sort this out,” said Jansa.

Prosecutor rejects berry pickers’ trafficking complaint

The District prosecutor in Kajaani has decided not to investigate a human trafficking complaint from a group of 50 Thai berry pickers. He says the case does not bear the hallmarks of human trafficking—but both the pickers’ lawyer and the company that brought them to Finland say their dispute will continue.

Thaimaalainen marjanpoimija.
Thai berry pickers are paid by the weight of fruit they gather, not given a salary. Image: Yle

Last week some 50 berry pickers filed a complaint alleging they were trafficked from Thailand to pick berries for Ber-Ex, a forest fruits company based in Kainuu. The prosecutor has rejected their complaint, saying that Ber-Ex had not forced them to work.

The pickers claimed to have borrowed large amounts of money at high interest rates to pay for their trip to Finland, and were otherwise unhappy about Ber-Ex’s actions towards the pickers. Their lawyer Ville Hoikkala says they are not about to give up their fight.

“I don’t understand this at all,” said Hoikkala. “We said to the police a week ago that we are collecting evidence in support of the complaint. We have documents and interviews to support our claims. The police knew that evidence was on the way, but called off their investigation anyway.”

He added that further action was likely, although he did not say exactly what form it would take. The Chief Executive of Ber-Ex, Kari Jansa, was of a similar opinion—he feels the berry pickers and their supporters have damaged his company’s reputation without justification. YLE


2 Responses

    1. from what I could ascertain from the google trans of the blog post in Thai, is that they are here on a tourist visa, and allowed to pick berries without any taxes levied, and have to produce their share of the berries to get paid. It’s not clear who is to provide the accommodations, and at the time of the disagreement and change in flight tickets, if they refused to leave, who would end up footing the bill for their lodgings.

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