An increasing number of people who have become victims in Finland are seeking admittance into the Assistance system
People who have become victims of human trafficking in Finland are referred to the Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking more efficiently than before. From 1 January to 30 June 2020, there were 48 people who had been in conditions indicative of human trafficking in Finland that were referred to the Assistance System.
In previous years, a considerably smaller number of people who became victims in Finland were identified during the same time period: 34 people in 2019, 30 in 2018, 16 in 2017 and only 11 in 2016.
Victims of human trafficking contacting the Assistance System themselves have developed into the second most common way of seeking help from the Assistance System. In addition, Victim Support Finland, shelters and the police in particular have referred people who have become victims in Finland to the Assistance System.
All in all, at the beginning of 2020 there were 149 new clients admitted into the Assistance System; 108 of them are witnesses or potential victims of human trafficking, and 41 are their minor children. 56 per cent of the new clients had become victims of human trafficking outside Finland. People who have become victims of human trafficking outside Finland are typically referred to the Assistance System by reception centres.
These statistics were revealed during the latest semiannual review of the Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking (in Finnish).
A threat to safety is present in most cases
Most of the victims of human trafficking identified in Finland are connected to forced labour. Most often the forced labour took place in the restaurant and cleaning industries. These two industries have already been visible in the statistics of the Assistance System for several years. Some forced labour also took place in the construction industry as well as other individual workplaces.
Three clients had become victims of forced labour in Finland when they were underage.
In Finland, some human trafficking related to sexual exploitation has also been identified, especially forced prostitution, forced marriage, forced criminal activity, and the type of human trafficking known as benefit fraud. More information about benefit fraud as a form of human trafficking can be found in the semi-annual review.
Three people acting as witnesses in a criminal investigation process related to human trafficking were also admitted into the system.
Increasingly often, the safety of a person exploited in Finland is threatened to some degree. In certain cases, the threat level has been fairly high. The Assistance System works with the police and the victim’s home municipality in order to protect the victim.
The total number of clients has multiplied
The clients who had become victims of human trafficking outside Finland had been subjected most commonly to forced prostitution, and second most commonly, to forced labour. 24 clients had been exploited while underage.
A person exploited abroad is admitted into the Assistance System, if the person is in dire need of assistance due to becoming a victim of human trafficking. The assistance is most commonly related to psychological rehabilitation, because clients have often suffered long-term and extremely brutal exploitation. Clients also receive guidance in issues related to residence, among other things.
The total number of assistance system clients on 30 June 2020 is higher than ever before. Of the 804 clients, 610 are potential victims of human trafficking and 194 are their minor children.
The number of clients has nearly tripled during the recent years. A year ago, there were 587 people within the scope of services at the end of June. On 30 June 2018 the same number was 379, while on 30 June 2017 it was no more than 269.
Facts: What does the Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking do?
- The Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking is responsible for helping people who have become victims of human trafficking, their underage children, and the persons assisting with the investigation. The system assists both Finnish and foreign victims of human trafficking equally.
- The Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking is an authority that provides its clients 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 their 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 and has three offices in Finland (Lappeenranta, Helsinki and Oulu). Starting from 1 August 2020, the Assistance System will also operate in Tampere.
- The Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking has operated since 2006. It is part of the Finnish Immigration Service and operates under the Ministry of the Interior.
- The Assistance System maintains the national ihmiskauppa.fi website and has a 24/7 info hotline in the number +358 2954 63 177.
- The assistance system should be referred to as the Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking or the Assistance System.
- Further information about activities: www.ihmiskauppa.fi