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Stranded pickers to be bussed home: official
Stranded pickers arriving in Stockholm on Wednesday.

Stranded pickers to be bussed home: official

Published: 26 Jul 2012 07:48 GMT+02:00
Updated: 26 Jul 2012 07:48 GMT+02:00

Bulgaria has agreed to bring home hundreds of its nationals stranded in Sweden by false promises of jobs as seasonal berry-pickers, the city of Stockholm said Wednesday.

"The Bulgarian government has taken the decision to finance their return by bus," Stockholm city official Brita Mohlin told AFP, adding that the city would work together with the Bulgarian embassy.

The migrants have been living in makeshift camps in the forests of central Sweden, amid simmering tensions with local residents, after being lured there by suspected human-traffickers with promises of seasonal work.

Since last week, hundreds of them have also camped outside the Bulgarian embassy in the capital Stockholm, seeking help to get home.

Bulgarian ambassador Svetlan Stoev told the TT news agency:

"We are working to get them all home to Bulgaria. But we need help finding buses."

Mohlin said the about 200 people who were camping outside the embassy would leave by Thursday morning, as soon as enough buses had been located.

On Monday, a 43-year-old man, whose name was not given, was detained in Sweden suspected of human trafficking, after a number of Bulgarians reported to local police he had tricked them into making the trip.

Local police in the central Uppsala region said the man had recruited the Bulgarians and promised them housing, food and decent salaries.

But after he drove them up in a bus, the migrants told police, they were handed tents and basically left to fend for themselves in what has been shaping up to be a disastrous berry season due to poor weather.

Locals in nearby villages and towns have for weeks voiced concern about the squalid conditions of the large camps, without easy access to food or sanitary facilities, and the strain it was putting on local communities.

Many have made their way down toward Stockholm and the embassy, and to accomodate their needs the city made a school building in central Stockholm available on Wednesday night. Resources however remained stretched.

"I am trying to call round to the different local authorities in the municipalities that have many stranded pickers and ask them to keep them up there. Otherwise we risk a situation we can't manage down here," said Mohlin to TT.

Mohlin was very pleased with the news from Bulgaria, but added that getting the stranded pickers home will be no easy feat.

"It is hard to find buses and drivers, the embassy is working hard to solve the situation. And then the pickers need to be identified, to ascertain that they really are Bulgarian," Mohlin told TT.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:28 July 26, 2012 by Decedo
There seems to be a few certainties in Sweden: midsommar parties, fica, and abuse migrant workers
09:33 July 26, 2012 by byke
Are the berries on free land or have they been sourced in fact by Swedish companies and authorities, who have had poor records of human wrights for a number of years?

I suppose at least #sweden workers are protected by minimum wages to stop exploitation ..... Oh forget that they aren't. In fact Sweden uses these type of workers often as cheap slave labour.
09:53 July 26, 2012 by occassional
This story has been repeating itself for many years now. It was Thais last year, Bulgarians this year and yet the lackadaisical authorities do not seem to bother. Don't those who bring these poor people in only to abandon them in the forests and treat them like dirt have a name and an address? Surely, they apply for their seasonal permits.
09:53 July 26, 2012 by Rishonim
These sort of abuse has been happening for years and the Swedish authorities are too busy planning their next Thailand escapade to actually do something about it. I am of the opinion that the people running Sweden (judges, police, politicians) are a bunch of degenerate and corrupt scrotum bags.
10:34 July 26, 2012 by rise
There will always be people fooled by a psychopath abusing them. Now it's likely some psychopath abusing people from far away whom don't know anything about Sweden, abusing other people's land to pick the berries from as well.

While the psychopath doesn't feel anything about it - no regret, no shame, nothing - I for one feel sorry for the Bulgarians since I know some of their struggle. I have been to Bulgaria. They aren't having it easy in their life and deserve better treatment than this.
16:44 July 26, 2012 by Migga
People are quick to point the finger towards the swedish side but ignore the other side. There are numerous groups of people abroad who trick people into paying them, stuffing them on the back of a truck and then getting them to Sweden with the promise of work. All this without any contact on the swedish side.
17:01 July 26, 2012 by byke
@Migga #6

What a load of fapp.

Seriously, you think these foreign agents go recruiting in foreign countries, then cover transportation costs etc to Sweden .... Without any sort of agreement from #swedish eemployees? .... You mad.
17:07 July 26, 2012 by Migga
@byke #7

There is no doubt in my mind that there are fraudsters in Bulgaria, just like anywhere else, who exploit others. They fill their minds with false promises, ask for a sum of money, pay of a driver and keep the majority of the money for themselves by "helping" these people. Whatever happens in Sweden is none of their concern.
01:12 July 27, 2012 by jostein
Just imagine to yourself going to another country without the means to go back home? Most people on these boards are migrants. So they should be able to relate to this folly. People that are adults are responsible for themselves. And yet these cretins come running crying like little children. Its pathetic. Pitifull. Childish. I cannot feel any semblence of respect for these mewling idiots. TAKE FRIGGN RESPNSIBILITY FOR YOURSELF? Are you children? Or adults?
05:35 July 27, 2012 by Spuds MacKenzie
@jostein I agree!
09:15 July 27, 2012 by Grävling
Some people are so desperat for money they will do anything, even all of the above. Does not matter what nationality you are, it's all driven by greed.
11:12 July 27, 2012 by rise
All jostein is seeing is immigrants and not workers from an other EU-country. Why would the Bulgarians want to stay here in the expensive and ice cold Sweden when they can go back home to their inexpensive summer paradise Bulgaria?

Next time you're meeting a psychopath yourself - as I'm accusing the "43 year-old" to be - remember your own words not to be "pathetic", "pitiful" or "childish". I can assure you you'll have a hard time remembering them! Cause you'll be so misled and duped so you won't know what happened...
18:31 July 27, 2012 by james_g
I may be completely off-beam here, of course, but I can't help having a nagging suspicion that if the 43 year old man had a Swedish name it would probably have been mentioned. Oh well, perhaps not...
18:38 July 27, 2012 by Grävling
@ james

True, if it was a Swedish person, there name would not be mentioned, however if it was a non Swedish person, it would say 43 year old "county" man, or woman. See it happen so often in Local papers here, cover it up if's it's a local, if not point it out.
16:53 July 29, 2012 by jostein
@rise

I would not go to a place without carrying my own means getting back home again. Furthermore, that there are conmen in the world is common knowledge even to guillible swedes such as myself and it is with all certainty even better known to these "bulgarians".

How hard is it to understand that we are all responsible for our own actions? Gods, i wish all leftists moved to the same place and had to get along with one another instead of being parasites on conservatives. Those of you that didnt murder one another would starve to death, all the while whining and squealing about how its someone elses fault.
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