Trafficking in human beings is a serious offence

Trafficking in human beings is a serious offence, where perpetrators subjugate their victims. Usually, the objective is to exploit the victims commercially or to gain some other profit.

As trafficking in human beings is mostly hidden, only some of these activities become known to the authorities. The many manifestations of trafficking in human beings and the subjugation of victims make it difficult to identify victims and detect offences.

Trafficking for labour exploitation occurs in Finland

In Finland, many human trafficking offences that have come to light have concerned exploitation of labour or sexual abuse. However, new types of human trafficking crimes are constantly emerging.

Many victims of trafficking in human beings have arrived in Finland from abroad, but there are cases in which the victims were Finnish citizens.

Many different authorities involved

The Government adopted an action plan for prevention of labour exploitation in February 2024. It is coordinated by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment

Trafficking in human beings will be prevented through horizontal and comprehensive action, anti-trafficking efforts will be intensified, and exchange of information between the authorities will be increased.

The Government anti-trafficking coordinator works in the Ministry of Justice. The job involves cross-sectoral coordination of anti-trafficking work and participation in international cooperation. The anti-trafficking coordinator is assisted by a secretariat coordinating Government action against trafficking in human beings.

Finland also has a non-discrimination ombudsman who acts as Finland’s national rapporteur on trafficking in human beings.

The police has a national group specialising in human trafficking offences. The group investigates human trafficking offences and supports police departments in their investigations. 

National assistance system for victims

The Joutseno Reception Centre coordinates a national assistance system for victims of human trafficking. The system is a public authority that provides victims of human trafficking with a wide range of services and support measures.

Under certain conditions, foreign nationals who can reasonably be suspected of being victims of trafficking may be issued with residence permits.

International anti-trafficking cooperation

Trafficking in human beings is international and cross-border crime, even when offences are committed in Finland. Trafficking in human beings may also have links to organised crime.

The EU and the Nordic countries are working together to combat trafficking in human beings. The Nordic countries have set up a working group where each country is represented by their entities coordinating anti-trafficking efforts. A Nordic police network against trafficking in human beings was founded in 2023, consisting of police officers engaged in operational work.

Finland is bound by numerous international conventions and obligations related to trafficking in human beings, such as the Additional Protocol supplementing the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.