This is how the Assistance system can help you
The Assistance system for victims of human trafficking can help potential victims of human trafficking, and their underage children who are in Finland. People who are witnesses to a human trafficking crime may also receive help, if they need it. All services are free and accepting them is voluntary.
When you become a customer of the Assistance system, you are entitled to services such as:
Safe housing - depending on your situation, you may be housed in a shelter, or the safety of your current home may be improved. The assistance system works with the police to safeguard trafficking victims.
Health care - help for physical and mental health problems
Social services - guidance and support for coping with daily life
Reception allowance or social assistance - financial help for people with no income
Statutory legal aid and legal advice - you will receive information about your rights and you will be given help to find a legal aid counsel, if you need one. Trafficking victims may be offered a free legal aid counsel, starting from the pre-trial investigation.
Support person - you may be given a support person to help you during the criminal process, if you need one.
Interpreting and translating - you will be given help in the language you understand
If you are a foreign national, you also have the right to access the following services:
Voluntary assisted return - if you want support for returning to your home country
Support for applying for a residence permit - the Assistance system guides and helps you with questions related to your stay. Trafficking victims can apply for a residence permit, for example because they have fallen victim to human trafficking. Please note that the Assistance system does not make decisions on whether you will receive a residence permit or not. The authorities that make residence permit and asylum decisions are the Immigration Unit and Asylum Unit of the Finnish Immigration Service.
If trafficking victims are staying in Finland illegally, the Assistance system can offer them a reflection period. During the reflection period you can recover from your experiences and decide whether you want to cooperate with the police to solve the crimes committed against you. The reflection period can last up to six months. During that time you will be staying in Finland legally. Authorities are not allowed to remove you from the country during the reflection period.
Confidentiality and reporting a crime
The Assistance system will keep all information about you secret. We will not tell any information about you seeking or receiving help to people who are not supposed to know about it. For example, the Assistance system will not inform your employer or family members, or the authorities in your native country.
However, the Assistance system must inform the police about the serious crime of human trafficking that has been committed against you. If you are afraid or do not want to talk to the police, the Assistance system can give you three months to rest and recover from your experiences. During this time, you can use the services but the Assistance system does not tell the police about the trafficking crime. This is called a recovery period.
After your recovery period, you will get help with reporting the offences that have been committed against you. We will help you communicate with the police and other authorities. The Assistance system will also offer you help and security throughout the process - and afterwards, if you need it.
As part of the criminal process, you can claim compensation, for example for your unpaid wages or the suffering you have experienced.
Please note: If you think you yourself may have committed a crime, you should know this: Under Finnish law, people should not be punished for crimes, if they have been pressured to commit the crimes without a chance to say no. (Criminal Code of Finland, chapter 4, section 5)