The National Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking trained approximately 750 current and future police officers and border guards in human trafficking issues – the number of clients of the assistance system have increased again

18.1.2019 10.13
Press release

During the autumn of 2018, the IHME project coordinated by the National Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking trained nearly 750 members of the police and the Border Guard as well as police and border guard students in human trafficking issues. The original goal of the training was roughly 200–300 people, but due to the high demand during the autumn, the number nearly tripled.

The number of trained persons will increase further, because the training will continue during 2019. As a whole, this is the most extensive human trafficking training programme for pre-trial investigation authorities in Finland.

Training events have been arranged at 11 police departments, four administrative units of the Border Guard, the Police University College, and the Border and Coast Guard Academy. The training is run by anti-human trafficking experts representing the Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking, as well as police officers and border guards with experience of human trafficking investigations.

The training has increased understanding of human trafficking

At the training events, the participants have been instructed in issues such as human trafficking as a phenomenon as well as how to identify it and meet its victims, in addition to the special characteristics of pre-trial investigations involving human trafficking.

In addition, the aim at the training events has been to encourage authorities to consult colleagues working in various departments, as well as other experts when they need support or advice during an investigation. Another aim is to increase co-operation between pre-trial investigation authorities and other anti-human trafficking organisations, such as the Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking, the Office of the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman, which acts as Finland’s National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings, and non-governmental organisations.

"Based on feedback from the participants, the training has been considered interesting, practical, easily understandable and quite necessary. The training has opened up human trafficking as a crime to the participants in a new way. The increased awareness has also affected the number of clients of the assistance system rising again during 2018," says Project Manager Veikko Mäkelä. (The latest review of the Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking. The English version of the review will be at Materiaalipankki soon.)

A report on child trafficking will be released in March 2019

One of the key goals of the IHME project during the last six months has been to foster discussion on human trafficking in children. To promote this aim, the assistance system has drawn up a report on the status of human trafficking in children in Finland together with the European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control, affiliated with the United Nations (HEUNI). The report will be published in a seminar on 21 March 2019.

Based on the statistics of the assistance system alone, it is clear that child trafficking and the exploitation of children also occurs in Finland. Finnish children are not safe from different forms of exploitation, either.

"Exploitation may start with small things and change step-by-step over time into activities that resemble the definition of human trafficking in the Criminal Code. The question is how exploitation of children and thereby also human trafficking may be prevented in Finland? This and other issues related to the topic will be discussed further during the spring," Mr Mäkelä says.

A material bank for work against human trafficking on the website

During 2019, a material bank containing material on work against human trafficking and information about human trafficking, among other things, will be established on the website, which was updated in June 2018.

The material bank will further reinforce the position of the website as the most comprehensive portal in Finland on human trafficking and anti-human trafficking efforts. A questionnaire on the functionality of the website will also be drawn up during the spring of 2019 in order to map future development needs.

The IHME project, which aims to improve the operational preconditions for anti-human trafficking efforts in Finland, receives EU funding from the Internal Security Fund (ISF-P).

Further information for the media

Veikko Mäkelä, Project Manager, tel. +358 29 5 430 431, email: [email protected]