The annual 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report says that Finland as a source, transit, destination and limited source country for human traffickers. Trafficked individuals in Finland can end up as sex workers, in the building trade, in restaurants, as farm labourers, berry pickers, cleaners and domestic help.
They are forced to work via debt, threats of violence or even voodoo.
Although there are victims of trafficking in most major Finnish cities, the report categorises Finland as a ’Tier 1’ country, the highest ranking based on the official response to the problem.
The rating means that Finland acknowledges trafficking exists and works to combat it, while meeting minimum standards recommended under the US Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
Despite the Tier 1 rating, the report's Finnish rapporteur says that there is room for improvement in Finland’s response.
Trafficking victims rarely receive residency permits in Finland, although they are eligible to, and the Finnish practice of accommodating them in mixed-use shelters (asylum reception centres) can cause secondary trauma or even re-victimisation.
The report recommended Finland make special efforts to pro-actively identify victims of trafficking and refer them to appropriate services, increase co-operation between different agencies, re-evaluate residence permits valid for only one employer, and investigate recruitment agencies for involvement in trafficking.
The matter was reported first in Finland by national daily Helsingin Sanomat.
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