Restaurant owner detained on suspicion of human trafficking

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The state police have detained the owner of a restaurant in Latgale for allegedly exploiting a Chinese citizen, forcing him to work free of charge, the police said January 26.

The information gathered during the investigation shows that the owner of a restaurant in Latgale, an unnamed man born in 1978, started looking for an employee from China for his restaurant in 2020, promising a certain position in the restaurant with a good salary. A man born in 1995 responded to the job advertisement and, with duly arranged documentation, arrived in Latvia and housed in a place specified by the employer. Although the contract of employment was initially signed and, by mid-July 2021, the person began to perform his duties, the remuneration for the work carried out was not paid.

The man was deprived of personal identification documents and threatened, and rendered materially dependent.

On the basis of the information obtained, criminal proceedings on trafficking in human beings were initiated. The investigation carried out a number of searches at the suspect's home, vehicle, and the restaurant. Evidence was collected, and on October 6, 2021, the suspected person was detained.

The investigation into the case is still ongoing. The suspected person is not a national of Latvia, so the case also involves active international cooperation in the acquisition of information and other matters related to legal assistance.

In order to continue to prevent possible cases of human trafficking and the associated risks, anyone with any information may contact and report to the police by calling 110 or by writing an e-mail “[email protected]”.

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