Three detained over alleged human trafficking in Rīga

At the end of November, three persons were arrested on suspicion of engaging two foreign citizens in forced labor in a restaurant in Rīga, the State Police (VP) said December 15.

The VP had received a submission regarding criminal activity at an Indian restaurant in Riga. The information received showed that since June this year, two Indian citizens with a residence permit in Latvia had been illegally employed in the restaurant for five months and they may have suffered from human trafficking.

On October 19, the VP inspected the restaurant with the State Labour Inspectorate. There, the law enforcement officers met the two victims. On November 27, police officers apprehended a group of three persons, two women (Latvian citizens) and one man (Indian citizen) without prior criminal records.

Information obtained by police shows that the victims had their passports taken away, and the suspects forced them to work as cooks for 12 hours a day without paying a salary. Staff have also stayed overnight in the restaurant.

Criminal proceedings have been commenced in accordance with Section 154.1, Paragraph two of the Criminal Law – regarding human trafficking if it has been committed by a group of persons upon prior agreement.

The victims have been taken to non-governmental institutions where they are provided with assistance.

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