Trafficking in human beings is a human rights challenge

Trafficking in human beings and other comparable exploitation and abuse are one of the defining human rights challenges of our era. Human traffickers subjugate their victims, usually in order to exploit them commercially. 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.

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. Cases of labour exploitation have been exposed in the restaurant sector, for example. Many victims of human trafficking have arrived in Finland from abroad, but there are cases in which the victims were Finnish citizens.

Many different authorities involved

In autumn 2016, the Government published its action plan against trafficking in human beings 2016–2017. The action plan was the result of extensive cooperation between the various ministries. Its goals include improving the identification of victims of trafficking and providing assistance to them.

As of 2020, the Government anti-trafficking coordinator will be transferred to 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 human trafficking.

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

Special scheme for assistance to victims

The Joutseno Reception Centre coordinates an assistance scheme tailored for victims of human trafficking. Through this system, victims have recourse to 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.

More information

Miia Lehtinen, Police Inspector
Ministry of the Interior, Police Department, Police Steering Unit +358295488686 [email protected]