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The number of victims of human trafficking continues to be high – most cases of exploitation concern forced labour

Publication date 14.2.2024 9.30
Press release

In 2023, 510 new referrals were made to the National Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking (NAS), which is a bit higher than the previous year. 326 new human trafficking victims were admitted to the NAS, of which more than half were women and girls.

The majority (64%) of all exploitation cases happened in Finland. Forced labour was the most common form of human trafficking. The clients were of 35 nationalities. The fields of forced labour included picking wild produce (32%), berry farms (24%), restaurants (13%), cleaning (11%), well-being (4%) and greenhouses (4%).

Work-related exploitation violates Finnish labour laws and other national laws, such as criminal law. Additionally, labour exploitation always involves financial crime.

"When exploiting employees, the objective is always to gain financial benefit. It distorts competition by giving unwarranted advantage to those companies who exploit people in a vulnerable position. Combatting labour exploitation has a significant meaning for our society and economy. The National Assistance System advances crime prevention and helps the victims of the crimes", explains Assistant Director Katri Lyijynen, of the National Assistance System of Victims of Human Trafficking.

Forced labour victims don't have any usual rights to decline given tasks, and the victim is in a vulnerable position.

"There may be a debt relationship between the employer and employee, threats of violence, deportation or denunciation to the authorities. Also, the victim's personal freedom may be restricted. Often, they have been misled in terms of the work conditions", says Katri Lyijynen. "The salary is often not appropriate or correctly paid."

In the end of the year 2023, there were a total of 1,563 clients in the NAS, of which 1,287 were identified victims, and 276 their underaged children. Amongst all victims, there were 19 children. Approximately 60% of all victims were women. Of all NAS clients, almost half (48%) were forced labour victims. 26% were sexual exploitation victims, and 20% were victims of forced marriage. Other exploitation forms were identified less than these.

The work against human trafficking is socially significant. Human trafficking is hidden criminality, and exposing it is widely helpful to the society. The National Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking has a regular and continuous training program for stakeholders, NGOs, and other operators within the field which has increased the awareness of the topic, promoted detections of cases and made identifying victims easier.

All 2023 statistics are available at

Started in 2006, the National Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking is a national expert authority and the centre of excellence of the work against human trafficking. Administratively it is under the Joutseno Reception Centre, which is part of the Finnish Immigration Service. The purpose of the NAS is to help all victims of human trafficking and their underaged children, and any people assisting in investigations into human trafficking crimes. The NAS will help both Finnish and foreign victims of human trafficking. The NAS maintains the national website and a 24/7 helpline 0295463177.

Additional information

Terhi Tafari
Project Manager, Team Leader
National Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking
0295 433 037

Katri Lyijynen
Assistant Director
National Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking
0295 433 037

National Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking.

Press release