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Number of human trafficking victims goes up in Finland

Published : 25 Jul 2020, 01:58

  DF Report

File Photo by National Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking and the European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control (HEUNI).

About 600 suspected human trafficking victims are receiving assistance from authorities in the country, reported national broadcaster Yle, quoting the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri).

According to Migri, the number of people getting assistance increased by three times during the recent years.

The number of the people getting assistance, however, raises to 800, if the underage children of the victims are counted.

"When we talk about human trafficking globally, we are talking about tens of millions of people. We are seeing rising numbers of human trafficking here in Finland, and it is not only linked to immigrants," said the Yle report, quoting the head of Migri’s assistance system for human trafficking victims, Jari Kähkönen as saying.

The majority of the people became victims of human trafficking abroad while some people became victim during the process of seeking asylum.

From 1 January to 30 June 2020, there were 48 people who had been in conditions indicative of human trafficking in Finland that were referred to the Assistance System.

In previous years, a considerably smaller number of people who became victims in Finland were identified during the same time period: 34 people in 2019, 30 in 2018, 16 in 2017 and only 11 in 2016.

Victims of human trafficking contacting the Assistance System themselves have developed into the second most common way of seeking help from the Assistance System.

In addition, Victim Support Finland, shelters and the police in particular have referred people who have become victims in Finland to the Assistance System.

All in all, at the beginning of 2020 there were 149 new clients admitted into the Assistance System; 108 of them are witnesses or potential victims of human trafficking, and 41 are their minor children. 56 per cent of the new clients had become victims of human trafficking outside Finland.

Human trafficking in Finland often involves forced labour, usually in the construction, restaurant and cleaning sectors.