During the year 2018, a total a 228 persons were referred in Finland to the Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking. Of them, 163 were admitted into the system as clients, according to the numbers published by the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri), who remarks that on December 31 there were still 13 proposals pending for a decision.
The figures provided by Migri were revealed during the latest review of the Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking.
The numbers show a remarkable increase compared to previous years. For example, in 2015 only 75 persons were referred to the Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking, 52 out of whom were accepted. This means that the number of people referred to this program has more than tripled in three years.
In Finland, 18 out of the victims were victims of human trafficking linked to sexual exploitation. In general, these are people who were forced into prostitution. The number is also in this case significantly higher than in previous years: in 2017, just 8 victims of human trafficking linked to sexual exploitation were identified and in 2016 the number was 4.
Among the victims there are other 20 persons who were estimated to have become victims of human trafficking linked to labour exploitation. Most of these cases were discovered in the fields of restaurants and cleaning services in particular, as detailed by Migri.
Highest number of total clients
The number of clients in the Assistance system has again risen to the highest it has ever been. All in all, on 31 December 2018 there were 455 people who fell within the scope of the system’s services, including the 94 children in the care of the clients.
Of the clients, 41 entered the assistance system as minors. A much higher number of the clients had become victims of exploitation indicative of human trafficking as minors, but they only dared to talk about their exploitation after coming of age, explains the Finnish Immigration Service.
Increasing in conflict zones
Out of the new clients, 45% had become victims of human trafficking in conflict zones, especially in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Somalia. The exploitation included sexual slavery, forcing the victim into prostitution, forced labour, forcing minors into marriage in particular, as well as forcing the victims to become child soldiers. Based on statistics, it seems that human trafficking is especially prevalent in conflict zones.
The observation is consistent with the report on human trafficking released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on 7 January 2019. The report states that conflict zones make human trafficking worse.
How to apply for help
People who need to apply to the Assistance system can do it either by themselves or with someone else's, usually an official or NGO worker. In 2018, there were 27 cases of persons that contacted the Assistance system by themselves. This is nearly twice as many as in the previous year (15) and considerable more than in 2016 (6) or in 2015 (8).
The website ihmiskauppa.fi provides information for victims of human trafficking. It provides a phone number and contact forms in order to report your case. Migri considers that it "has had a positive effect on the chances of potential victims of human trafficking to find help".
The system offers help to anyone regardless of the nationality. No matter if you are Finnish, from another EU member state, from a third country or stateless. Even if you are in Finland illegally or if you at first said yes to being exploited.
If you are a victim of human trafficking and you are in search for help, you can learn how to report your case by clicking HERE