Saturday, 20 April, 2019

Many children, youths’ are victims of human trafficking

22 Mar 2019, 02:26 ( 29 days ago) | updated: 22 Mar 2019, 02:28 ( 29 days ago)

DF Report
Press Release Photo.

Sexual abuse, forced criminal activity and forced marriages are the forms of human trafficking encountered by children and young persons currently in Finland, according to a prepared by the National Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking and the European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control (HEUNI) published on Thursday.

The report is based on a questionnaire circulated among experts working with children and young persons, on expert interviews and on official statistics, said a press release.

The report said that there are numerous children and young persons in Finland who are victims of human trafficking and related abuse.

At least 55 children (under 18) and 141 young persons (18 to 21) have been given assistance under the assistance system for victims of human trafficking from 2006 to 2018. However, many more cases remain undetected.

“Because cases of human trafficking do not always come to the attention of the authorities, it is likely that there are many more child victims than are shown in official statistics. What makes detection difficult is that human trafficking is often understood as something separate from other kinds of abuse, such as the commercial sexual exploitation of children, even though these phenomena are actually very closely linked,” said project manager Veikko Mäkelä.

The actual abuse may have been perpetrated in Finland, in the home country or country of origin, or en route to Finland. The victims also include Finnish children and young persons.

Children and young persons are vulnerable and therefore liable to fall victim to various forms of human trafficking, from sexual abuse to coerced begging.

“What we have found in particular in Finland are children and young persons who have been sexually abused or forced into prostitution, forced into committing crimes or forced into marriage. One of the groups that emerged was the ‘runners’, young people on a placement who in running away from their placement location may fall victim to abuse,” said researcher Elina Kervinen.

Yet the track record for identifying children and young persons who are victims of human trafficking, particularly those who are Finnish, is poor. Not one Finnish child (under 18) has been referred to the assistance system for victims of human trafficking, even though some cases proceeding to conviction have involved underage Finnish victims.