Human trafficking is a human rights challenge

Human trafficking and other comparable abuse and exploitation are considered one of the greatest human rights challenges of today. In human trafficking, victims are subjugated usually for the purpose of commercial exploitation. As a result of such subjugation, the victims are unable to exercise their free will. Human trafficking has also been described as modern-day slavery.

Finland is bound by numerous international conventions and obligations related to human trafficking, 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.

Cases of work-related exploitation have been exposed in Finland

In Finland, the human trafficking offences that have come to light have concerned, for example, sexual abuse and work-related exploitation. However, new forms of human trafficking crimes are constantly emerging. The restaurant sector, for example, is one area where cases of work-related exploitation have been exposed. Many victims of human trafficking have arrived in Finland from abroad, but there have also been cases where the victims have been Finnish citizens.

In recent years, the annual number of suspected human trafficking offences reported to the police has been between 20 and 30. This figure does not, however, present a truthful picture of the scale of the problem, as one human trafficking offence appearing in the statistics may involve more than one perpetrator and, similarly, more than one victim. Human trafficking offences are investigated by the police and the border guard authorities.