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TRAFFICKING

Two charged in Bulgarian berry picking scam

Two Bulgarian men were charged with trafficking on Thursday after luring fellow countrymen to Sweden with false promises of berry picking work and comfortable lodgings.

Two charged in Bulgarian berry picking scam

Back in Bulgaria three men had been promised well paid employment as berry pickers in Sweden by the two organisers.

According to Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet (SvD), they were told they would make €5 per completed box of berries. But once they arrived in Sweden they realised that they had been conned.

The three berry pickers were forced to camp out in tents in the woods and did not receive any payment for the work they did. Their documents were taken from them so that they would not try to go back to Bulgaria.

After having had enough of both poor living and poor working conditions as well as the bad treatment suffered from the two organisers, one man decided to attempt an escape.

He didn’t succeed however, and as he was brought back, the two men put a noose over his head and forced him to run behind a moving car to avoid being dragged along.

”He ran away. When he returned he was put through that as punishment for trying to escape, ” prosecutor Christina Voigt at the International Prosecution Chamber (Internationella åklagarkammaren) in Stockholm told SvD.

According to Voigt this is a clear case of trafficking with foreign labour and she therefore filed charges against the pair in Hudiksvall district court on Thursday.

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OBAMA

‘Ask Obama about Gitmo and labour’: opposition

Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven has said the government must address the US-run prison Guantanamo Bay prison during the upcoming visit to Sweden by US President Barack Obama.

'Ask Obama about Gitmo and labour': opposition

“We of course have questions about Guantanamo and privacy questions following Snowden,” Löfven told the TT news agency. “These are very important questions that should be discussed between countries that have good relations.”

While the government announced on Thursday that it would not release any further details of Obama’s upcoming visit at present, Swedish political scientist Jan Joel Andersson told The Local this week that it was unlikely that the prison camp on the US Naval Base in Cuba commonly referred to as “Gitmo” would be discussed, although Stockholm does have human rights concerns concerning the US.

Löfven, meanwhile, also took the opportunity to praise the the US president for his focus on restoring American industry, and spurring the growth in employment.

“He talks about re-industrializing the US, creating jobs and hope for the future,” Löfven said. “Ahead of the G20 meeting, it is important to have a strategy for jobs creation and to make sure that the global economic benefits everyone, not like it is today with big imbalances.”

Löfven said the Swedish model, based on the Saltsjöbaden Deal penned in 1938 between employers and trade unions, could serve as inspiration for an international agreement between workers and capital owners.

READ MORE: <a href="https://www.thelocal.se/44546/20121120/” target=”_blank”>Did SAS crisis talks undermine ‘Swedish model’?

“It would be great if Obama could put on the yellow jersey in this discussion,” Löfven said, urging the Swedish prime minister not to shy away from the topic on the American stop-over in Stockholm in September.

TT/The Local/at

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