Thirty-five men rescued from forced labour after being trafficked to Norway

Hrabin* is one of 35 men who have been rescued from forced labour.

The men, all aged 18 and above, were trafficked to Norway from their homes in Bulgaria, Afghanistan and Poland, to work long hours for no pay.

Many of these men had left their families after being promised travel, accommodation and a well-paid job in Norway’s capital, Oslo, which would enable them to send money home to support their loved ones.

Hrabin, who is aged in his 30s, had left his wife and daughter in Bulgaria, in the hope of improving their prospects.

He said: “I travelled to Norway to send money home to my wife and daughter. But I ended up having to ask them to send me money so that I could survive.

“I was given 5,000 Norwegian Krone – the equivalent of just over £400 – when I first started. But we worked and worked, most of us for about two months, and we were never given a salary. Soon we were unable to afford food.”

The men, who were victims of human trafficking, raised their financial concerns with the employer, who provided them with out-of-date food and forced them to sign documents. As many of them could not speak or read the language, they did not realise until later that signing these documents had terminated their contracts.

Hrabin* was given Hope for Justice’s contact details from a member of the public who had heard about his plight.

A member of the organisation’s team in Norway said: “Hrabin showed great courage by choosing to report his exploitative situation to the police, which in turn gave others the courage to also reach out to authorities for help.

“We are proud to have supported Hrabin and we celebrate that he is no longer being forced to work in modern slavery conditions. We are delighted that he has since been reunited with his family.”

All of the workers were rescued and initially taken to a safe house, and have since been reunited with their families.

*Name changed to protect identity of victim