U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Finland
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||5 June 2006|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Finland, 5 June 2006, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d889c.html [accessed 26 May 2013]|
Finland (Tier 1)
Finland is a transit and destination country for women and girls trafficked from Russia, China, and to a lesser extent from Moldova, the Caucuses, and Thailand, for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Victims are trafficked through Finland to other Nordic and Western European countries and to the United States. Finland is also a destination country for men and women trafficked from Russia, Estonia, Turkey, and Asia for the purpose of forced labor. Most victims are exploited in the construction industry, restaurants, and as domestic servants. In April 2005, authorities intercepted a bus of potential labor trafficking victims from Georgia; authorities believe these women were possibly being trafficked to Italy for the purpose of domestic servitude.
The Government of Finland fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government has made significant strides in its over-all anti-trafficking efforts. Finland implemented its comprehensive victim protection program under its 2005 national action plan, established a victim referral mechanism to ensure victims are referred to NGO-run shelters, intensified its prevention efforts both domestically and in source countries, and ceased its deportation of trafficking victims. The government could further improve victim care by providing trafficking-specific training to victim counselors and finalizing plans to issue temporary residence permits to victims. Finland should also consider creating a formal witness protection program and providing additional training for prosecutors and judges on how to effectively utilize the new anti-trafficking laws in addition to strengthening the penalties assessed to convicted traffickers.
The government improved its law enforcement efforts. During the reporting period, police conducted five trafficking investigations resulting in four prosecutions. Although prosecutors did not use Finland's new anti-trafficking law in 2005, four traffickers were convicted using other criminal statutes. The four convicted traffickers, including two Korean nationals, one Chinese national, and one Russian national were involved in transit cases. Sentences for convicted traffickers ranged from 10 months to 17 months in prison. Finland actively cooperates with other governments in investigations and prosecutions. The National Bureau of Investigation has anti-trafficking officers in nine Finnish Embassies and Consulates in key source countries in Europe and Asia. In December 2005, the police began an awareness and victim identification training program for its officers. A training session was held in December 2005 for prosecutors to improve their ability to successfully prosecute transit cases.
Finland demonstrated significant progress in assisting victims throughout the year. A national action plan against trafficking, which provides a victim-centered approach, was formally adopted in April 2005. Upon their identification, victims are taken to reception centers. Fifteen victims were housed in the reception centers during the reporting period. In response to NGO requests, the government recently began referring victims to NGO-run shelters whenever possible as housing alternatives to the reception centers. Great progress was made on the issue of victim deportation. In the past, trafficking victims were frequently deported without receiving any victim assistance. Now, police have a screening process in place to identify victims and ensure they are referred for assistance. Beginning in 2005, the government began systematically screening for victims and identified 15 probable victims. Victims receive legal counseling, medical and psychological services, and monthly stipends.
The government continued to improve its trafficking prevention efforts. Finland conducted a domestic prevention program focused on demand reduction; the government displayed posters and other media at ports-of-entry, post offices, and other locations to target clients and to challenge the view that prostitution and sex tourism is a "victimless crime." In late 2005, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs designed a training program to teach Finnish consular officers to better detect trafficking situations as well as how to follow up when trafficking is suspected. Since April 2005, 400 border guards have received victim identification training; during the reporting period, authorities at Vantaa airport intercepted a group of three adults and seven minors being trafficked from Asia to Western Europe.