Trafficking on Human Beings, it’s happening everywhere!


As part of my efforts to be human rights activist in every country I live, I decided to put my attention into a subject that is not familiar to many, human trafficking. Some thinks it’s a subject that doesn’t concern them and happens only in poor third world countries. But this assumption is wrong. It is happening everywhere, also here in Finland.

What is human trafficking?

Human trafficking means the victim has been put in a position where he or she for some reason is not free to decide about their own actions. Human trafficking has many forms. The most common forms in Finland are labour exploitation and sexual exploitation. But forced marriage, forced criminality, and forced begging were also discovered in Finland. 

Labour Exploitation

Labour exploitation can happen to everyone. A person can be exploited in a workplace in many ways. The type of cases brought to the attention of the authorities is very similar. Wages are not paid in full or in part, working time records are not kept, wages are not paid for all hours. In addition, the employer has control over the employee.

Foreign workers are in particular being exploited when the employer systematically exploits the status of the employee. The employer controls the employee in such a way that he or she cannot report the abuse to the authorities. Often the employee is not even allowed to know about Finnish labour legislation, the Finnish language or is not aware of his/her rights in Finland.

Areas, where exploitation has occurred in recent years, include the restaurant sector, the construction sector, the cleaning sector, shipyards, food dispatchers and in other economy platforms, domestic work, car washes and various seasonal agricultural jobs.

Often exploitation is related to companies where the employees and the employer are of the same nationality. But Finns are also guilty of exploitation, for example in the seasonal agriculture sector, a few Finnish berries picking companies were found guilty of trafficking in human beings while they put their employees under unhuman and miserable working and living conditions.

I read lately an article about a young foreign man who is a professional is in human rights and he still was exploited in Finland. He pointed out that many are being exploited because they don’t have a choice, they have to think about money first, to support their family. Their main concern cannot be about their rights, they don’t have any other options. Some are so ashamed of their situation that they prefer not to tell others about their poor working conditions.

Other forms of human traffickings, such as sexual exploitation and forced criminality are also present in Finland but it is more challenging to identify the victims. The victims might be scared of the authorities because they committed a crime, they might not trust the police due to bad experiences or they might fear deportation as a result of their acts. 

Who is responsible for stopping human trafficking?

You, the reader. I believe that a change can start from small. From individuals putting more attention to their friends, their colleagues, their community, their surroundings. If you are employed, notice if everyone in the workplace gets an equal working condition. If you are in a manager position, notice if there are companies that work with you, such as cleaning company, and notice if their working conditions are not exploited by their employees. If you are active politically, raise awareness among elected candidates about the fact that there are no shelters for human trafficking victims in Finland. And as an individual, when signing a job contract, make sure you know your rights! If something doesn’t feel right at work, or if you are forced to do something against your will, don’t stay silent! Ask for help from anyone you know or knew! From a friend, former teacher, employer or anyone who you can trust.   

In addition to the police, cases of labor exploitation are investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Other organizations that are helping victims of human trafficking are Rikosuhripäivystys, Pro-Tukipiste, Pakolaisneuvonta, FINNWID, SAMARIA, Monika-Naiset liitto and the National assistance system for victims of human trafficking. Any other NGO that is familiar to you will also help. Contacting non-governmental organizations is done anonymously. 

If you’re willing to learn more about this topic, I will give an online lecture on 05.10.2021 at 17:30 – 20:45, which is part of the lectures of Helsingin Työväenopisto, Adult education institutes in Helsinki, Espoo, and Vantaa, named What is Labor Exploitation

I will give an extensive lecture about labor exploitation in Finland and other forms of human trafficking. I decided that instead of only giving the theoretical background, I will focus on the experiences of victims of human trafficking which occurred in Finland in the last two years. This way, I hope the participates would not only learn more but also relate to others’ experiences. 

For more information and registration please visit the lecture is free of charge and will be done in English. 

Thank you for your time and please take care of each other. 

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