Human trafficking found at fish processing plant in Latvia

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State police have identified a possible case of human trafficking in a fish processing company, police said January 27. Three persons have been identified as victims.

The victims have allegedly been exploited for several months through deceit and using their vulnerability. Two suspects have been determined in the investigation: a woman born in 1973 and a man born in 1971 who ran the company. On January 20, this year the case has been referred to the Prosecutor's Office of the Riga Court District.

The State Police initiated criminal proceedings on suspicion of human trafficking on November 23, 2021.

The investigation showed that three persons were exposed to the work operation of the inspected company: a woman and two men aged 40 to 55 and two of them were living in office rooms. During work, the people were locked in the factory.

The information obtained from the investigation shows that the victims were recruited, housed, and employed without a contract of employment and wages, using deceit and personal vulnerability (poor financial situation), and had no other realistic and acceptable choice but to submit to exploitation. 

All three victims, not having received the promised salary for the two months they worked, left their jobs.

Further explaining the circumstances, the State Police carried out an authorized search at three addresses, and detained a woman born in 1973 and a man born in 1971.

In the case of human trafficking, if committed by a group of persons following a prior agreement, persons may be punished by deprivation of liberty for a period of three to 12 years, confiscation of property, and probation supervision for up to three years. 


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