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Street Children

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                           

Republic of Finland

Although Finland has been one of the best performing economies within the EU in recent years and its banks and financial markets have avoided the worst of global financial crisis, the world slowdown has hit export growth and domestic demand and will serve as a brake on economic growth in 2009 and 2010. The slowdown of construction, other investment, and exports will cause unemployment to rise. During 2009, unemployment will climb to over 8% of the labor force. Long-term challenges include the need to address a rapidly aging population and decreasing productivity that threaten competitiveness, fiscal sustainability, and economic growth.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Description: Description: Finland

Finland is a transit and destination country for women and girls trafficked from Russia, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, the Caucasus, China, and Thailand to and through Finland to France, Sweden, Italy, Canada, Spain, and the United States for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Finland is a destination country for men and women trafficked from China, Pakistan, and Bangladesh for the purpose of forced labor; victims are exploited in the construction industry, restaurants, and as domestic servants.   - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009   Check out a later country report here or a full TIP Report here



CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Finland.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include precursors of trafficking such as poverty and hunger. There is a lot to the subject of Trafficking.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.

HELP for Victims

Senior Officer Venla Roth
71 878 8667

Emergency hotline
358 71876
Country code: 358-



Curbing Human Trafficking

Vatican Radio RV, 23 June 2006

[accessed 24 January 2016]

The Finnish Parliament has approved new legislation aimed at curbing human trafficking in the sex trade. Under the new law, a client of a prostitute could face six months in prison if police and magistrates can prove the clients knew the prostitute was forced to sell her services.


*** ARCHIVES ***

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Finland

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 6 June 2021]


Men and women working in the restaurant, cleaning, construction, and agriculture industries were the most likely to face conditions of forced labor. The sexual services sector, legal in certain circumstances, also saw incidences of trafficking and forced labor.


The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment effectively enforced child labor regulations. There were no reports of children engaged in work outside the parameters established by law.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 23 July 2020]


The authorities generally uphold protections against exploitative working conditions. Asylum seekers and migrants are most vulnerable to sex and labor trafficking. According to the US State Department, the government actively prosecutes trafficking offenses, and survivors have access to protection and assistance, though alleged perpetrators often receive lighter charges and penalties due to lack of specialized training for investigators.

Minority Ombudsman: Features of human trafficking in Roma begging

yle Uutiset News, Sweden, 17 June 2012

[accessed 18 June 2012]

According to the Swedish-language daily Hufvudstadsbladet, women Roma beggars in Helsinki have been seen turning over money to apparently well-to-do men.

According to the paper, there have been incidents observed in which women Roma beggars have been seen turning over money to well-dressed men driving expensive cars.   In Biaudet's view, these incidents present a classic picture of human trafficking.   Helsinki police have long believed it possible that that the street begging by foreign Roma in the city is tied to human trafficking.

Growing Number of Human Trafficking Victims in Finland

Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE News, October 7, 2010

[accessed 5 February 2011]

A new study challenges the belief that Finland is only a transit country for human trafficking. However experts are unsure of the exact number of people trapped in this modern-day form of slavery.   Venla Roth, a senior officer at the Minority Ombudsman’s Office, says there are many victims of human trafficking in the country and provides the following example from 2009:

“The police received a tip regarding a gardening company in Ostrobothnia. Ten Thai nationals were working at the company for monthly salaries ranging between 200 and 290 euros. The workers were not allowed to leave the company premises, their credit cards had been confiscated and many of them were going hungry.”

Five Sentenced in Human Trafficking Case

Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE News, December 9, 2008

[accessed 31 August 2011]

[scroll down]

Last summer the group held an 18-year-old Kotka woman as their prisoner for one week in south-east Finland. During this time they physically assaulted her and also forced her to provide sexual services. The group moreover took out loans in the woman's name.

"The case was unusual as the victim and the perpetrators knew each other and because all of the events occurred within this country's borders," said Könönen.

Finland Falls Short in Helping Human Trafficking Victims

Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE News, 2007-12-06

[accessed 29 August 2012]

FINLAND FAILS TO IDENTIFY SEX ABUSE VICTIMS - Internationally, victims of human trafficking are often used for sex, and are often women. However in Finland, a large number of suspected human trafficking victims are men who are used for labour.  "The Finnish profile does not match the international picture. We have failed to identify human trafficking victims used for sex," said the chair of the steering committee, Mervi Virtanen.

Police suspect some Helsinki Thai massage parlours of procurement

Helsingin Sanomat, Oct 10, 2007

[accessed 5 February 2011]

[accessed 29 January 2018]

Based on a detailed investigation into the capital’s Thai massage businesses, the Helsinki Police Department published its own report on Tuesday, confirming that sex services are indeed generally offered at all Thai massage parlours in the city.

However, the Helsinki Police Department did not find any evidence that would point to human trafficking or professional operation. Hence there was no reason to launch any preliminary investigations for the time being.

Man remanded on suspicion of aggravated human trafficking

Helsingin Sanomat, April 16, 2007

[accessed 5 February 2011]

BORDER GUARD: VICTIM THREATENED WITH VIOLENCE, AND PASSPORT TAKEN AWAY - The Finnish Guard suspects that at least two men with an Indian background have forced another Indian-born man to work without pay in Finland over a period of more than a year and a half.  The two are also suspected of having threatened the man with violence.

Finland grants residence permit to victim of human trafficking

Helsingin Sanomat, April 12, 2007

[accessed 5 February 2011]

[accessed 5 February 2011]

Finland's Directorate of Immigration has granted a residence permit to a victim of human trafficking. The purpose of the new type of residence permit is to help victims of trafficking to disengage from the snares of traffickers, and to fight trafficking more efficiently.

Main defendant unexpectedly admits to pimping in human trafficking trial

Helsingin Sanomat, Jan 9, 2007

[accessed 5 February 2011]

CHARGES STEMMING FROM THE CASE - The group is suspected of having transported 15 Estonian women to Helsinki and other parts of Southern Finland for purposes of prostitution. One of them was a young mentally disabled woman who was enticed to Finland with promises of love, and a job in child care.

Finnish Border Guard holds leader of human trafficking ring

Finnish News Agency STT, 27 September 2006

-- Source:

[accessed 16 July 2013]

Finland's Border Guard told the Finnish News Agency (STT) on Wednesday it was investigating a large operation involving the trafficking of Indians.  Lieutenant-Commander Petteri Partanen, the deputy chief of the Border Guard's Helsinki border control section, said the leader of the ring was being held.

The situation is rare, for in past human trafficking cases Finnish authorities have been able to bring to justice mostly only rank-and-file members.  Lt Cdr Partanen said the trafficking of people from India to Finland had grown to a huge scale in the summer, indicating the trafficking organisation might have been testing Finland as a transit route.

Key witness in human trafficking case goes missing

Helsingin Sanomat, Jun 22, 2006

[accessed 5 February 2011]

[accessed 27 April 2020]

It is obvious that Viilip has not vanished on her own initiative, as she has had a habit of contacting her family almost every day. Neither does she have a lot of money with her. Moreover, she is reported not to have left the country - at least not using her own name.  The police have also tried to trace her mobile phone usage - without success so far.

Working group proposes system for helping victims of human trafficking

Helsingin Sanomat, June 15, 2006,

[accessed 5 February 2011]

A working group established by the Ministry of Labour proposes that a system be set up in Finland to help victims of human trafficking.  Under the proposals made public on Wednesday, the refugee reception centres of Oulu and Joutseno would coordinate the activities.  Police, border officials, or other authorities would refer suspected victims to the system, and the victims themselves would also be able to seek out the services.

13:48 Human trafficking group had 1,000 customers in Finland –police

Finnish News Agency STT, May 30, 2006

[accessed 5 February 2011]

[scroll down to 13:48]

Finnish police believe that as many as one thousand people availed themselves of services offered by an organisation suspected of human trafficking. According to a police statement Tuesday, the group is suspected of procuring involving 15 women and 80,000 euro profits.

Russian Officials Surprised At Reports Of Human Trafficking

Helsingin Sanomat, 16 March 2005

[accessed 5 February 2011]

Fresh arrests at Vaalimaa border crossing - "The problem for the officials is that the illegal border crossings take place legally."  He says that there are always people who will help in the acquisition of genuine travel documents. It is only after the borders are crossed that the activities become illegal.

U.S. says human trafficking still a problem

Andris Straumanis, Editor, Latvians Online, June 15, 2004

[accessed 5 February 2011]

[accessed 27 April 2020]

Women and children from Latvia are trafficked for sexual exploitation to Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Israel, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom, the report said.

Sexual exploitation of children rises in Gambia, government and UNICEF say

UN News Service, 6 May 2004

[accessed 1 September 2014]

Last year as many as 100,000 tourists, mainly from Britain, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Germany, visited Gambia. Giving details of the exploitation of girls from anecdotal evidence, the report says sex tourism prostitution has engendered consumerism, with girls saying that being a sex worker "means having access to lots of cash to buy jeans, shoes, to go to beauty salons for hair and nail care to show off at beach parties and nightclubs."  The child prostitutes did not consider themselves as children and did not see why they would require special protection because of their age, they were quoted.

Ensuring Human Rights Protection in Countries of Destination: Breaking the Cycle of Trafficking [PDF]

Conference Report, Helsinki, 23-24 September 2004, compiled by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights ODIHR, Warsaw Poland, 2005

[accessed 5 February 2011]

[accessed 18 September 2016]

The conference took place in Helsinki on 23-24 September 2004 and focused on the following issues:

• Protecting the human rights of trafficked persons in countries of destination, with particular

attention paid to identification; access to medical, psychological, and legal assistance; reflection

delays; and residence permits;

• National and regional initiatives to improve victim protection in countries of destination;

• Implementation of National Referral Mechanisms, i.e. models for co-operation between law

enforcement and civil society; and

• Challenges and opportunities regarding European and global instruments to strengthen the rights

of trafficked persons.

U.S. report on human trafficking shows Finland in a poor light

Helsingin Sanomat, 13.6.2003

[accessed 5 February 2011]

The report describes Finland as "a destination and transit country for women and girls trafficked by organized crime syndicates into sexual exploitation, including into enclosed prostitution camps in the northern part of the country".

Finland is the only EU country to be placed in the second category, although Greece has handled things in even more slovenly fashion and is in Tier 3.

Finnish man faces charges of human trafficking in Latvia

Helsingin Sanomat, 19.2.2004

[accessed 5 February 2011]

A Finnish man in his 40s is suspected of human trafficking and pimping in Latvia.  The man is believed to have organised a circle of dozens of women from Latvia, Estonia, and Russia to work as prostitutes in several large Finnish cities. He was taken into custody in Latvia at the beginning of February.

Human trafficking is not often encountered in the Nordic countries and for the time being the Finnish penal code has no reference to this issue. However, this fault will be corrected soon.  The charges against the man will be heard shortly and if found guilty he will be sentenced under Latvian law. Any sentence is expected to be rather heavy - particularly as it is suspected that some kind of pressure was used and an international criminal organization was involved, and because one of the women was a minor aged 17.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) - 2005

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 30-09-2005

[accessed 5 February 2011]

[accessed 3 February 2019]

[52] While welcoming that recent amendments to the Penal Code introduced the crime of trafficking in Finnish legislation, as well as the National Plan of Action Combating the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children of 2000 and the National Plan of Action against Trafficking in Human Beings of 2005, the Committee is concerned at the information that persons, including children, continue to be trafficked to and through the country.

The Protection Project – Finland [PDF]

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), The Johns Hopkins University

[accessed 24 February 2016]

A Human Rights Report on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children


2017 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 20 April 2018

[accessed 22 March 2019]

[accessed 26 June 2019]


Men and women were subjected to conditions of forced labor in the construction, restaurant, agriculture, metal, and transport sectors and as cleaners, gardeners, and domestic servants.


There were no reports of children engaged in work outside the parameters established by law.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 8 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – Most trafficking involved women and girls from Russia, although Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian women were also trafficked for sexual exploitation. Increasing numbers of Asian women, most of whom were believed to be Chinese and Thai, were trafficked through the country to other parts of Europe.

Some persons were trafficked for labor, and most of these cases involved persons coerced into restaurant work, in construction, and as maids. They were often forced to work long hours for low pay, and were often reluctant to approach authorities due to the cultural gap and fear of deportation or confinement.

The government and NGOs believed Russian organized crime syndicates to be the principle traffickers of women and girls into the country. Although traffickers led some of the women to believe that they would be employed as domestic servants or waitresses, most were aware that they would be prostitutes. Economic incentives for poor women seemed to play a larger role in trafficking than physical coercion. Most trafficking victims entered the country with valid visas obtained at Finnish consulates abroad. The Schengen Treaty, which allows travelers already within EU borders to travel to any other EU country without inspection, facilitated the transit of trafficked persons from Russia and the Baltics to Western Europe. In some cases traffickers confiscated victims' passports and used violence or the threat of violence to ensure their compliance.

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