What is human trafficking?

Human trafficking is a criminal activity where the offender subjects victims to exploitation by influencing their decision-making ability in an inappropriate way. For instance, the offender may mislead the victims by promising them normal work under conventional employment conditions and in normal circumstances, but actually the victims end up being seriously exploited. The offender may also exploit a victim’s vulnerable status or the victim’s dependence on the offender in some way.

The most common purposes of human trafficking are sexual exploitation and forcing victims to work in circumstances that in no way comply with the legal requirements for the terms and conditions of employment. Exploitation in human trafficking is often a prolonged process of subjugation and use of power where victims gradually fall under the governance of the offender without being able to defend themselves or to extract themselves from the exploitative circumstances.

A human trafficking operation may cross borders or be perpetrated within a country. Human trafficking is widely addressed in international legislation. In Finland, the legislation concerning human trafficking and the very definition of human trafficking are based on the relevant international treaties. The legislation both specifies the criminal liability of the offender and describes with what criteria a person may be considered to be a victim of human trafficking. In Finland, human trafficking is criminalised through the provisions of chapter 25 sections 3 and 3a of the Criminal Code.