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Stories about the work against trafficking in human beings

Let’s make Finland a country not susceptible to human trafficking

I can still remember the situations from almost twenty years ago, during which I tried to convince various actors of the fact that human trafficking took place in Finland. It was as though I was telling fairy tales. No judgements had been delivered on human trafficking, and no assistance system...


The fight against human trafficking requires cross-administrative cooperation

I have been a police officer for over 20 years and I have served as a senior investigator for nearly ten years. As a criminal investigator, I have investigated all types of crimes. Most of my time as a senior investigator was spent on investigating serious crimes, mainly sexual crimes as well as...


“If something sounds too good to be true, it most likely isn’t”

A detective sergeant who had years of experience in matters involving foreign nationals was performing an immigration control inspection together with a stakeholder at a booming medium-sized industrial company that was experiencing a period of accelerated growth. The detective sergeant was...


“What the feeling of shame brings forth”

In stream of people who each year flow through a transit centre for asylum seekers we often meet those who have been deprived of their freedom in the name of human trafficking. For many of these victims, the term human trafficking is unknown, but they reveal how dreams have been shattered and...


Tackling human trafficking promotes gender equality

Over 10 years ago, a neighbour brought an undernourished Uzbek girl to us to get help from the support centre of MONIKA – Multicultural Women’s Association in Finland. The girl had been living illegally in Russia and met a Finnish man there, whom she then had married. After arriving in Finland,...


Country, where labour-related human trafficking is identified

I was first introduced to the phenomenon of human trafficking at a lecture on the subject by the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings at the beginning of the 2010s. I then forgot about the issue for several years, until one day a lawyer informed me of two Indian men who did not...


Establishing the mandate of the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings

The very first proposal to establish the mandate of the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings was made in the action plan against human trafficking adopted in 2005. At the time, I was the head of the working group assembled for the purpose of drafting said action plan. Back then, we...


Identifying gendered shame helps men to receive assistance

When I took up my position in early 2015, Victim Support Finland had eight clients who were victims of human trafficking. Now, in 2019, we have over 240 clients who are victims of human trafficking or related crimes, and more than 170 of them have fallen victim to work-related human trafficking...


No more a victim of human trafficking, but a self-sufficient actor

Pro-tukipiste has been able to witness the development of anti-human trafficking activities in Finland at both the individual and structural level since the beginning of the 2000s. Disseminating the knowledge that we have accumulated through our practical client work to the structures and...


Building trust between a victim of human trafficking and the person helping them is a slow process

I was asked to come and assist a young woman in an interrogation where she was the suspect of a crime. At the beginning of the interrogation process, the woman appeared frightened and reserved. She clearly did not understand the predicament she was in. However, after hearing her testimony, it...


We cannot see what goes on behind closed doors

I shall return to a legal case examined at different levels of court a few years ago, in which I acted as a prosecutor. The events started when a young person, still a child, who lived in extremely difficult circumstances, came across an online advertisement in which a man was looking for...


Identifying forced marriages as a form of human trafficking

The Asylum Unit of the Finnish Immigration Service is continuously improving the methods it uses in the fight against human trafficking, and it has been great to see the progress that we have made. One area of development has been to place increasing emphasis on examining human trafficking...


The utilisation of trauma-related psychological information in the work against human trafficking has advanced

I am a trauma psychologist, work advisor and educator. Over the course of my career, I have occasionally participated in cases that were related to human trafficking. I have witnessed these cases in my clinical work in the low-threshold services of the association, in student health services and...


Research has significance in highlighting labour-related human trafficking

I was introduced to the phenomenon of human trafficking at the end of the 1990s. I was touring around the Baltic states and the Nordic countries to survey the readiness of various organisations in helping victims of human trafficking who had been sexually exploited. There was not much talk of...


Smooth collaboration is a way to achieve a good and fair outcome

Over the years, I have prosecuted many human trafficking cases. One of them has stuck with me due to several good practices. The case in itself was a very classic example of human trafficking. Grace (the names have been changed for this text) had been working as a hairdresser in Edo State in...


The assistance system has succeeded, when victims receive the assistance they need

Human trafficking is a form of exploitation where victims are unable to remove themselves from their present situation without outside help. This is the observation that we have made in the 15 years that we have run the national assistance system for victims of human trafficking in Finland....


From needing support to standing on one’s own legs – “then I have succeeded”

Every victim of human trafficking is different, and their needs are also different. Assisting victims is a slow and persistent process where repetition is used to forge trust and help the client slowly regain their independence. People often think that therapy alone is enough to help victims...


No more confusion and disbelief - trafficking in human beings is reality

The first human trafficking cases were very different from any other cases previously handled by Service Union United PAM. My first encounter with a human trafficking matter started when a friend brought the client to see me in person. The case was unusual in every aspect, and the deeper I dug,...


”I did think that I wasn’t being treated right”

Without exception, the victims of human trafficking who we meet in the course of the work that we do at the Finnish Refugee Advice Centre are people from foreign countries. Based on this premise alone, they also have an increased need for legal advice. Their experiences with exploitation are...


Human trafficking in the form of sexual exploitation is an issue that must be solved by society

After 20 years of experience in investigating crimes such as human trafficking, I can safely say that identifying human trafficking cases is very difficult indeed. When a person walks into a police station, the police can investigate whether the story that they have been told is true. However,...

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Stories about trafficking

This anniversary (2019) of the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings provides an ideal opportunity to bring to light some success stories in the work against human trafficking. Despite the challenges of the past and the future, there are also various successes. Through these stories, we wish to point out the important and ground-breaking work completed by each of these professionals in their action against human trafficking.