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Suspected Human Traffickers Paid Staff Well Over Minimum Wage

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Suspected Human Traffickers Paid Staff Well Over Minimum Wage

Akureyri Church.

The town of Akureyri, in north Iceland, where Sjanghæ is located.Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

A few weeks ago, RÚV (The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service) reported on the Chinese restaurant Sjanghæ in Akureyri, claiming its owner, a Chinese born woman, was suspected of human trafficking. This was later proven untrue, following trade union Eining-Iðja's investigation.

According to RÚV, the owner was suspected of paying her Chinese staff a monthly salary of 30.000 kr ($285). They were said to have eaten leftovers and resided in housing provided by the restaurant. RÚV later issued an official apology.

Jóhannes Sigurðarson, Sjanghæ's lawyer, has said that the owner's family has been in shock, having been blocked on social media and the daughter too frightened to attend school.

It now turns out that the staff's monthly salary was 465 thousand krónas ($4355), which is well over the Icelandic minimum wage of 300 thousand ($2810). Jóhannes has confirmed that the restaurant has been closed since RÚV's report, as no customers have wanted to show up.

Jóhannes believes the restaurant will open again, although it's unclear when exactly. He and the owner will be determining shortly whether or not to press charges.

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