31 March 2019: No matter where they go looking for better and happier life, Nepali restaurant workers invariably become an easy target for exploitation and abuse.
Their condition, even in a fair country like Finland, is reportedly so “miserable” and “pervasive” that it has promoted the largest circulated newspaper in the Nordic countries to launch an investigation.
Unfortunately, the people who have been accused of keeping the Nepali restaurant workers in “modern-day slavery” are none other than their fellow Nepalis, claims news website yle.fi citing Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat.
The report published today quotes special investigator Tuija Hietaniemi of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) who rued that workers “pay huge amounts to reach Finland and once they get here they live in miserable conditions and are overworked, and the victims are too afraid to speak out”.
That’s as low as 6 Euros an hour – far below the legal minimum allowed by the Finnish government, the website claimed.
The exploitation of the workers is reportedly so organised that the salaries of the restaurant workers are deposited into bank accounts that are controlled by the restaurant owners themselves. The owners so far avoided the Finnish government officials’ attention because they cleverly keep their “paperwork in order” as a result of which everything looks okay from on the surface, the report claimed.
Timo Lappi, CEO of the Finnish Hospitality Association MaRa, told the newspaper that “very cheap prices can be a tip-off that everything is not as it should be”.
10,000 Euros for a job in Finland
The website has also claimed that Nepalis pay as much as 10,000 Euros for a job in Finland. Hence, the newspaper investigation revealed that the restaurant workers face a “life of indentured servitude” once they reach Finland”.
Too afraid to report to authorities
Despite all the cruel treatment, these helpless Nepali restaurant workers do not report their situation to the authorities because “several Nepali restaurant owners in Finland are related”. Hence, they have the upper hand over the workers and are able to “blackmail them”, the report added.