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Number of clients in the Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking higher than ever before

5.3.2018 10.40
Press release

Number of clients in the Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking higher than ever before

The number of clients in the assistance system rose to the highest that it has ever been. At the end of 2017, 322 people fell within the scope of the system’s services, including underage children in the care of clients (2016: 233). 34 of them entered the assistance system as minors.

People in need apply to the assistance system either by themselves or with help from someone else, usually an official or NGO worker.

These statistics were revealed during the latest review of the Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking (in Finnish).

Majority of clients are victims of human trafficking for labour exploitation

The majority of the new clients were victims of human trafficking for labour exploitation. The second largest client group were victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation. The third most-common reason for applying to the system was forced marriage.

About 70 per cent of the new clients had come to Finland seeking asylum. The reason for this could be not only the significant increase in the number of asylum seekers in autumn 2015, but also that the Finnish Immigration Service and reception centres have excelled at directing victims to the assistance system.

Majority of clients became victims outside Finland

Most of the assistance system’s new clients became victims outside of Finland. Last year, 37 per cent of new clients said they had become victims of exploitation that indicated human trafficking in Finland.

Of the minors accepted as clients, two were considered to have become victims of treatment that indicated human trafficking in Finland. The others had become victims either in their home country or on their way to Europe. No underage Finnish citizens were directed to the assistance system in 2017.

Assistance System concerned about human trafficking that targets people with a substance dependence

The figures given in the review only cover cases that have come to the assistance system’s attention. They do not tell the whole truth about the extent of human trafficking in Finland. It is possible that the number of victims is higher than indicated by the statistics.

Human trafficking is rarely an isolated incident. It is usually a series of acts or conditions that may have gone on for years – or even decades. It is possible that the victims themselves do not understand the situation, or are not aware that there are other options.

The assistance system is currently extremely concerned that people with a substance dependence who have become victims of human trafficking are not being directed to seek assistance, and that human trafficking targeted at them is not sufficiently recognised. However, they are at a very high risk of becoming victims of human trafficking due to forced prostitution or forced criminality, for instance.

Human trafficking involving forced begging and forced criminality also goes largely unrecognised in Finland.

More information for the media

  • Senior Advisor Katri Lyijynen, Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking, Tel. +358 (0)295 430 431, email: forename.surname@migri.fi
  • Senior Advisor Terhi Tafari, Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking, Tel. +358 (0)295 430 431, email: forename.surname@migri.fi
  • Director Jari Kähkönen, Joutseno Reception Centre, Tel. +358 (0)295 430 431, email: forename.surname@migri.fi

FACTS What does the Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking do?

  • Clients in the Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking are provided with advice and guidance, social services, healthcare services, a reception allowance or income support, safe accommodation, and interpretation and translation services.
  • If a client wants to return to his or her home country, assistance will be provided for voluntary return.
  • Clients also receive legal assistance and legal counselling.
  • The Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking operates out of the Joutseno Reception Centre.