Christian Oosterlaan of Pack TTI, in the Netherlands, has a warning for his colleagues in the fruit and vegetable sector:
"A man from Iraqi Kurdistan called Sirwan Alipour (email@example.com / Tel: +30 694 825 6016) approached us. He claimed to represent a large nursery (Tree company) and was very keen to do business. He quickly ordered quite a few machines. But he wanted to become a trusted business partner first. So, he suggested that some employees come to see the machines and possibly test them."
"It all sounded good, so we sent out a few invitations. We later found out he'd contacted other growers. They, too, were interested in coming for a visit. We invited them as well. Then the first two people arrived at Schiphol Airport. And customs called us to see if this visit had been correctly arranged."
"The woman and her 'interpreter' had no idea why they were in the Netherlands. It was all very vague. I called Mr. Alipour, and he said he would inquire. And lo and behold, a little later, the woman knew why she was in the Netherlands. Customs sent them back, regardless."
"Two weeks later, we get a call from the immigration police in Breda [a Dutch city]. A woman there had applied for a British visa, using our invitation. It was the same woman from the airport who'd, somehow, gotten into the Netherlands. She now wanted to travel on. Mr. Alipour kept insisting that this wasn't right; the police were mistaken."
"He even wanted to deposit €5,000 into our account to prove his trustworthiness. The immigration police, however, told me that human trafficking is a very lucrative business. And that €5,000 is pocket change for them. The police advise you not to accept orders from Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, or Pakistan. I hope this serves as a warning to other businesses about these practices."