Entering and leaving the Assistance system
A potential trafficking victim can seek help from the Assistance system by contacting the system. If you are seeking help and want more information about the Assistance system, go to the Get help section at humantrafficking.fi.
An authority, a third-sector organisation (NGOs, churches) or a private service provider can refer a victim to the Assistance system with the victim’s consent. The victim must always say yes to being referred - no one should be referred without their consent!
In the case of child victims, the child’s appointed representative or guardian must also agree to the referral. Children must also be heard in accordance with their age and development.
The Assistance system will help potential trafficking victims who need help
Persons who may have fallen victim to human trafficking and need help due to it, can be admitted to the Assistance system. If the victim has underage children in Finland, the children can also be admitted to the Assistance system. Finally, persons who are assisting in a crime investigation on human trafficking, can be admitted to the Assistance system if they need help.
The Assistance system independently makes all decisions on admitting a person to the system and on removing a person from the system. These are administrative decisions that can be appealed.
Victims receive help and services voluntarily
Victims do not have to receive any services unless they want to. Victims can also leave the Assistance system simply by informing the system.
Potential trafficking victims may stay in the Assistance system for a few months to several years. There is no time limit. The longest a person has remained in the Assistance system is more than seven years.
The reasons for ending the provision of assistance are determined in law
A victim will leave the Assistance system:
- when the victim no longer needs the help
- when the victim wants to leave the system
- if the victim disappears
- if the victim moves abroad permanently or is removed from the country
- if the police (at the end of the pre-trial investigation), the prosecutor or the court decides that the customer has not fallen victim to human trafficking
- if the customer has not been formally identified as a trafficking victim during the time in the Assistance system
When a customer leaves, the Assistance system will always try to refer the customer to other services. The Assistance system can also assist foreign nationals to return to their home countries through the assisted voluntary return scheme, if the customer wishes it.
Provisions on the operation of the Assistance system are given in chapter 4 of the Act on the reception of persons seeking international protection and on identifying and helping victims of human trafficking (laki kansainvälistä suojelua hakevan vastaanotosta sekä ihmiskaupan uhrin tunnistamisesta ja auttamisesta 746/2011). There is currently no English translation of the law available.