District Court rejects human trafficking and extortion charges in unpaid domestic help case

A Filipino woman arrived in Finland at a relative’s home in 2001 and worked for 13 years taking care of the family's children and their home without a salary.

Nainen siivoaa keittiötä
Image: Antti Eintola / Yle

On Friday South Karelia District Court dismissed accusations in a case whereby a couple was accused of human trafficking, extortion, and work discrimination.

A Filipino woman, related to the couple, took care of the couple's children and their homes in Lappeenranta and Hanko from 2001 to 2014.

The woman did not receive a salary for the domestic work that she carried out for the family around the clock. There were no days off or holidays, but the family paid for her living costs.

The woman’s passport expired in 2005, and when she contacted police in 2015 because of the matter, police began to suspect human trafficking.

According to the prosecutor, the couple took advantage of the Filipino woman’s financial plight, and the fact that she was reliant on them. The couple also showed a lack of understanding and displayed thoughtlessness regarding the responsibilities of an employer.

No contract

However, the court rejected the accusations, as the Filipino woman and her relative (one person from the couple) did not have a contractual agreement.

Working for the couple was based on family ties, and according to the parties there was never any intention of paying a salary.

Evidence of this was supported by the fact that the Filipino woman was restrained about accepting money. As well, the woman and the family have remained in contact after the woman moved out of the family home.

No forced labour

The court also found that the family had not forced the woman to work, and her contacts with the outside world were not restricted in any way.

The court also stated that the couple had not misinterpreted Finland's labour laws or used the woman, who had previously worked in the Philippines and possessed a good working knowledge of the English language.

Latest in: News


Our picks