Thus the human trafficking victim assistance system, has registered a record number of victims of human trafficking, Finland’s Migration Board (Migri) said.
In December 2019, the human trafficking victim assistance system listed 521 people as well as 155 minors – more than twice as many as two years ago and more than six times as many as five years ago.
“Forced begging, forced criminal activity, and human trafficking related to sexual exploitation were also detected in Finland in 2019”, Migri said in a statement.
It said that the figure not only includes victims of forced labour, but also of prostitution, and forced marriage, although most were the victims of forced labour, working in the food, cleaning, and construction industries.
“The fact that the asylum seekers are in the majority is due to being asked by several agencies on arrival, meeting with health care providers and supervisors”, Migri superintendent Terhi Tafari told daily Hufvudstadsbladet.
According to Tafari, this may only be the tip of the iceberg. The majority of those receiving aid are asylum seekers, and in a majority of cases, the exploitation took place abroad before arriving in Finland.
But human trafficking is also happening in Finland. Last year, the number of victims exploited in Finland reached 70, up from 52 victims in 2018 and 42 in 2016.
“The victims of sex-related human trafficking are often particularly difficult to reach, usually someone is required to intervene. The exploitation is so traumatising, and the victims are often so scared that they dare not tell”, Tafari explained.
Last year, two cases of forced begging were also identified for the first time. “Forced marriages often occur in connection with violence in close relationships”, Tafari noted.
A previous report on human trafficking released by the Council of Europe in June last year revealed that it had tripled in Finland between 2015 and 2018.