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What is human trafficking?

Trafficking in human beings is a serious crime against individual freedom and a violation of human rights. Offenders place their victims in a subordinate position and exploit them for financial and other gain. Offenders restrict their victims’ freedom to make decisions about their life and actions.

Forms of trafficking in human beings include:mies-hitsaa

  • Human trafficking related to sexual exploitation, for example forcing someone into prostitution or exploitation in the sex industry
  • Human trafficking related to labour exploitation and forced labour
  • Forced marriage and forced adoption
  • Forced begging and forced criminal activity and
  • Trade in human organs and tissues

In Finland, trafficking in human beings is a crime under chapter 3, section 25 and section 3a of the Criminal Code. Provisions on the assistance to the victims of human trafficking are given in chapter 4 of the Act on the reception of persons seeking international protection and on identifying and assisting victims of human trafficking (746/2011). 

Several international treaties on human trafficking also remain binding on Finland.

The many forms of human trafficking crimes

Passi-ja-lentolippuA trafficking crime may involve a single offender or several offenders. The crime may be related to international or local organised crime operations, smaller networks or even a single employer or the victim’s family member.

A trafficking victim may be trafficked to another country for exploitation, or the entire chain from recruitment to exploitation may take place within a single country. People may fall victim to human trafficking in their own home town, via the Internet or in many other ways.

Human trafficking usually involves long-term exploitation

Trafficking offenders exploit their victims’ vulnerability or weak position. Offenders may also cheat(deceive) a person in order to make them fall  victim to exploitation.

Human trafficking offences do not normally happen in a day. They involve a long process during which the victim gradually falls under the offender’s control. The longer the exploitation continues, the harder it is for the victim to leave the situation without outside help.

Forcing an underage person to fall victim to human trafficking is a crime, even if the victim has agreed to act as requested at every stage.