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VIDEO. In Latvia, 16 Tajik citizens were halved, almost unpaid …

Illustrative photo.

Illustrative photo.

Photo: LETA / Edijs Paul

The first case of third-country nationals who are victims of trafficking in human beings has been identified in Latvia. 16 Tajik citizens in Latvia were practically unpaid, half hungry and employed in the construction sector in inhumane conditions, LNT reported.

The first indications that a group of Tajik citizens – men between the ages of 40 and 50 – were possibly enslaved were found by the Labor Inspectorate of the State (SLI), where these people turned to help.

"Tajik citizens have complained about their recruitment, but the employer is not paying them the agreed wage in the long run. We have begun to clarify the circumstances and have found that it is four and more months in Latvia that have signed employment contracts , but this allowance [kas pienākas] according to the employment contract is not paid in full, "LNT News was stated by the director of SLI Baiba Puķukalne.

Having started investigating the situation, a number of other violations have been discovered by the employer, therefore the SLI has also involved the Ministry of the Interior (MOE) and its subordinate institutions that have acknowledged that Tajik citizens in Latvia have been victims of human trafficking.

"Everyone was in full compliance with all the criteria – people were not paid, they were basically hungry, were left in a helpless situation. In a foreign country where people do not know their rights, they cannot return home", the National Coordinator of the MoI for the Prevention of Trafficking in Human Beings, Lāsma Stabiņa.

Three of the total of 19 Tajik citizens returned to their home country without waiting for the committee's opinion.

The rest of Latvia was given a wait. They receive social rehabilitation and state aid. The "Shelter Safe House" association, which now works with these people every day, reveals that when we went to the place where the builders were staying, an unimaginable situation was seen.

"There were eight potatoes and two onions in the room where three people lived. I am not talking about the fridge being completely empty and there were no predictions that the employer would cover this food so that people would not go hungry. Different had been having health problems from being fed. The kit was complete so that we could talk about the fact of human trafficking, "explains the head of the association Sandra Zalcmane.

An employer who employs these men is not disclosed for research purposes.

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It is also revealed in the "Shelter Safe House" association for LNT news that the employer has not stopped terror against these people.

LNT reported to the Ministry of the Interior that this is probably not the last time that third-country nationals in Latvia become victims of human trafficking. In most cases, immigrants do not know where to go for help and to return to their home country. Consequently, information about possible violations does not reach the responsible authorities of Latvia.

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