Several victims of sex trafficking identified in Finland
By the end of June, 76 new clients have entered the Finnish Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking this year. It has been estimated that for 30 of them, the exploitation indicating human trafficking has started in Finland.
Out of those who had become victims in Finland, 12 were victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation. The number is considerably higher than in previous years: during the entire year 2017, a total of 8 victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation were identified in Finland, and in 2016 the number was 4.
According to estimates, the number of victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation may in reality be considerably higher in Finland. For example the Council of Europe’s Group of experts on action against trafficking in human beings (GRETA) has criticised Finland for failing to identify victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation efficiently enough.
Out of those who had become victims of human trafficking in Finland, 10 were estimated to be victims of human trafficking for labour exploitation. Four persons were estimated to be victims of human trafficking for forced marriage.
These statistics are available in the latest half-yearly report of the Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking (in Finnish).
Record number of potential victims of human trafficking were referred to the assistance system
By the end of June, a total of 115 persons had been referred to the Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking in 2018. Out of these 115 persons, 76 were taken on as clients by the assistance system (five proposals were still pending on 30 June 2018). During the same period in the previous year, the number of persons referred to the assistance system was 88, and 55 of them were taken on as clients. During the beginning of the year 2016, 45 out of the 74 persons referred to the assistance system were taken on as clients.
The number of clients in the assistance system is again higher than ever before. At the end of 30 June 2018, a total of 379 persons were receiving services from the assistance system, including the 80 underage children in the care of clients. The number of clients who entered the assistance system as minors was 40.
People in need of help find their way to the assistance system either by themselves or with help from someone else, usually an official or an NGO worker.
The assistance system hopes to reach more victims of human trafficking through its recently renewed website, ihmiskauppa.fi. In addition to the victims themselves, the website also serves different actors that combat human trafficking and the general public by teaching people to identify and encounter potential victims of human trafficking and to direct them to help services.
Most clients became victims of human trafficking outside their home country
Almost a quarter of the 76 new clients (18 persons) became victims of human trafficking in their home country, although the exploitation may in some cases have started in the victim’s home country and continued abroad.
The majority of the 30 persons who became victims in Finland were not Finnish citizens. Most of the new clients had ended up in circumstances that indicated human trafficking either after fleeing abroad because of the difficult situation in their home country or after moving abroad for a job or because of promises of a job.
Among the new clients were 29 persons who had become victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation and 28 persons who had become victims of human trafficking for labour exploitation either in Finland or abroad. There were 11 victims of forced marriage, and 8 persons were victims of exploitation that indicated some other type of human trafficking, such as forced criminal activity.
Facts: What is the Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking?
- Clients of the Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking are offered advice and guidance, social and health care services, reception allowance or social assistance, safe accommodation and interpretation and translation services.
- If the client wishes to return to his or her home country, he or she receives assistance for returning home voluntarily.
- In addition to this, the client receives legal aid and legal advice.
- The assistance system is placed in the Joutseno reception centre and has three offices in Finland.
Further information for the media
- Terhi Tafari, Senior Adviser, tel. +358 295 430 413, [email protected]
- Jari Kähkönen, Director, tel. +358 295 430 413, [email protected]