Two years' suspended sentence in Latvia's first modern slavery case

After two people were found to have been subjected to exploitation while working as milkers at a farm in Latvia's Vidzeme cultural region, their boss has been sentenced to two years' suspended imprisonment, reported LETA September 20 citing court sources.

The court made the defendant pay €1,330 to the state to cover compensations issued to the two exploited workers. He also has to pay moral damages of €500 to the male worker and €1,000 to the woman that was exploited.

The defendant did not plead guilty in the case. The sentence can still be appealed within ten days' time. 

As reported earlier, the case concerns Agrita, a woman, and Gunārs, a man, both in their sixties. They worked  at the Mežmaļi farm from 2016 to 2017 as milkers on unofficial terms. They lived at the farm and received but a part of the pay that was promised them. They were furthermore subjected to dreadful living conditions. 

Gunārs, who had been promised €18 a day for milking 46 cows and taking care of calves at the farm managed by the defendant Dainis Gipters. Gunārs argued he was not paid sufficiently and was lodged at premises without adequate heating and sanitary utilities. He worked at the farm in summer 2016, asking at court to be paid €1098 in wages and €1,500 for the moral harm he suffered.

For a two-week period during his work, Gunārs reportedly lived on milk and food the neighbors brought him. 

Meanwhile Agrita worked at the starting December 2016, shortly after Gunārs had left. She was promised to be paid €15 a day for the same tasks. She had nowhere to stay and was therefore exploited by the defendant. 

She was reportedly paid €50 for her services until April and was brought food every fortnight. Agrita said she had not been paid €2,500 for services performed and asked for a compensation of €5,000. 

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