Filipino trafficking charges against Norwegian hospital dropped

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The public prosecutor has decided not to press charges of trafficking in a case where the Oslo University Hospital is accused of having exploited three Filipino workers.

The attorneys of the three nurses are now considering appealing the decision to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

In March last year, it was reported that three Filipino nurses had taken out big loans and paid a middleman who would provide them jobs at Oslo University Hospital (OUS). The Norwegian post “Aftenposten” reports that they have documents that show that several in the management of the hospital confirmed that a furniture company was representing nurses from the Philippines as early as 2010.

In January this year, the hospital and a couple who allegedly acted as middlemen were charged with violation of the immigration law for the exploitation of the Filipino nurses. Penalty for the offenses is up to two years.

The attorneys for the three nurses believed that charges should also be pressed for trafficking. However, the public prosecutor decided not to press charges of human trafficking, either for the couple or Oslo University.

Both the hospital and the couple are still prosecuted for violation of the Immigration Act.

Police believe the couple took an unreasonable amount of money to assist the three nurses with an application for a residence permit, residence and work in Norway.

In the initial phase of the case charges included human trafficking but there was no element of forced labor or services in the picture.

“The case was investigated with regard to human trafficking, but investigations did not reveal sufficient force / pressure or conditions of “forced labor,” said Hans Petter Skurdalsvegen, Aftenposten.

The conditions of the nurses were revealed when two of the three told colleagues and elected representatives that they were comfortable where they lived and that they owed a lot of money.

Representative for the nurses, Frank Ryghaug, made contact with them, and eventually got the story and documents.

The women took out loans of NOK 300,000 to come to Norway. When they came to Norway in 2010, they did not control their own income, were not allowed to talk about their employment in Norway or have contact with the Filipino community in Oslo and had to pay NOK 11,000 each in rent to the middleman every month.

Source: aftenposten.no

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