Recognize human trafficking

Human trafficking is a serious crime against personal liberty. For the victims it can be very important that it is recognized that they are affected by a serious crime.

Human trafficking is a crime which violates human dignity and integrity. It is a crime where the offender takes advantage of the vulnerable position of another person or subjugates another person by coercion or deception into a position where they can abuse their victim and gain financial or other benefit at the victim’s expense. There can be one or more offenders. A victim of human trafficking is in a situation where they do not have a genuine opportunity to decide on their actions or leave the situation without posing a threat to themselves or their close relations.

Sex work and human trafficking are two different things. Human trafficking has several forms of manifestation, and the crime is committed in the context of prostitution or other commercial sex, it is referred to as human trafficking related to sexual exploitation. This means pressuring or coercing a person into prostitution/to be exploited in the sex industry. Human trafficking related to sexual exploitation can be, for instance, forcing someone into sexual slavery.

In Finland, trafficking in human beings is criminalized under chapter 25, sections 3 and 3a of the Criminal Code

Pre-trial investigation authorities (the police and border guard), prosecutors and courts review each suspected case to recognize the indicators of human trafficking, or other crimes.  Although human trafficking is a crime, criminal proceedings alone are not enough to deal with it. The victim of human trafficking usually has an urgent need for accurate knowledge and social and health support.

Acknowledging the vulnerable position of potential victims of human trafficking and bringing up the topic are the first steps to providing assistance and realizing their rights. Respecting the autonomy of victims of suspected trafficking in human beings and their position as experts of their own life, in addition to building a confidential relationship and providing accurate knowledge, are a good combination when considering the opportunities for change together.

The leafletIndicators of human trafficking (English) helps to recognize human trafficking. It contains information about the various forms of manifestation of human trafficking, means of control which indicate human trafficking and various elements that may signal human trafficking. You can download the leaflet for yourself for free.

More about the topic in the video Recognize the indicators of human trafficking (EN).

It is important to recognize human trafficking so that the victim of the crime can be given the opportunity to obtain the protection and support they are entitled to. Recognizing human trafficking at Pro-tukipiste and other organizations is based on discussions between a staff member and the person in need of help. Recognizing a situation that indicates human trafficking is the first step to being able to discuss the different options for seeking help with the victim of the crime.

Sometimes a situation indicating human trafficking is handled in a criminal investigation as a so-called related crime. Here are some examples of offences that can be referred to as crimes related to human trafficking.

Pandering, aggravated pandering

  • Pandering (pimping) means that there is a third party operating between the person selling sex and the person buying sex and this third party gains financial benefit from the selling of sex. Pandering in Finland can mean, for instance, renting an apartment, preparing sex selling ads or other promotion of the selling of sex. Pandering is a punishable offence under the Criminal Code.
  • An act similar to pandering is an indicator of human trafficking when it involves subordination, controlling or violence or if the object of pandering is under 18 years of age.

Extortionate work discrimination

Aggravated arrangement of illegal immigration

Extortion, fraud, illegal threat

More information about above mentioned other related crimes and support for victims of crimes from NGO Victim Support Finland: