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Number of human trafficking victims reaches record high in 2019

Published : 16 Jan 2020, 02:16

Updated : 16 Jan 2020, 08:58

  DF Report

DF File Photo.

The number of new customers that entered the assistance system for victims of human trafficking reached a record high in 2019, said the Finnish Immigration Services (Migri) in a press release.

Of the 229 new customers, 70 were estimated to have become victims of exploitation indicative of human trafficking in Finland. The number is much higher than that in the previous years.

It is estimated that most of the victims of exploitation in Finland were subject to forced labour in the restaurant and cleaning industries and at construction sites.

Signs of forced labour have also been detected in the conditions of persons hired as home help by private families as well as in work done in farms.

 A total of 33 persons possibly subjected to forced labour in Finland were entered as new customers in 2019. 

Persons other than Finnish citizens have been identified as victims of forced labour, though Finns are also encountered among them.

It is estimated that 20 persons exploited in Finland have become subject to human trafficking related to forced marriage.

The figure includes cases where marriage was entered into or was demanded in Finland and cases where marriage began abroad and continued after the family arrived in Finland.

Many of the cases are revealed when the authorities intervened in intimate partner violence. In fact, the police, reception centres, and shelters play a key role in identifying the victims of forced marriage.

Forced begging, forced criminal activities and human trafficking related to sexual exploitation were also detected in Finland in 2019.

In 2019, the assistance system received an increasing number of contacts from persons suspecting that they had become subject to human trafficking or other exploitation in Finland.

“Different ways of dealing with the situation are discussed with the caller, as well as whether the matter could be reported to the authorities, such as the police or the occupational safety and health department of the regional state administrative agency. A solution is often found through discussion,” said Senior Adviser Katri Lyijynen.

There were a total of 676 people within the scope of the assistance system’s services on 31 December 2019. Of them, 521 were entered in the assistance system because they might have become victims of human trafficking. Of them 48 were accepted as minors, though a much larger group OF MINORS had been exploited.

In addition, 155 minor children of 521 customers are within the scope of the services.