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Thu, 11 Sep, 2014 12:03:54 AM
Minority ombudsman’s report on human trafficking
FTimes Report, Sept 11
 
File picture of police checking identity of sex worker in Helsinki. Photo Lehtikuva.
The country is not combating human trafficking related to prostitution and other forms of sex trade effectively, says Ombudsman for Minorities in Finland Eva Biaudet in a report submitted to parliament on Wednesday.
 
The report, which analyses investigation findings and court materials from 2009 to 2013, concludes that human trafficking for sexual exploitation is more prevalent than what was aimed for.
 
It says potential victims of trafficking are not given enough help and cases of human trafficking involving sexual exploitation are mainly investigated and prosecuted as pimping.
 
“The situation has not changed in the 10 years since human trafficking was specified as a criminal offence on its own. Our research indicates that violence and exploitation in prostitution and other forms of sex trade remain unidentified and unsolved,” said the ombudsman in a release.
 
File picture of Eva Biaudet, Ombudsman for Minorities. Photo Lehtikuva.
As a result, victims do not get help and offenders go unpunished, she said, adding, “Human trafficking takes place before our eyes but this crime is not addressed.”
 
The report however acknowledges the progress made in combating human trafficking in recent years. There has been a positive trend, particularly in prevention of human trafficking, it says, but the situation is different when it comes to human trafficking related to sexual exploitation.
 
It suggests that the authorities and non-governmental organisations should be able more often to identify the victims of trafficking and more funding should be allocated for investigating the cases.
 
The report also emphasises that human trafficking is not just a question related to foreigners or crime prevention. A significant proportion of the victims are young Finnish women and girls who are in need of better health and social services.
 
Combating trafficking requires political will, guidelines and funding, said Venla Roth, an anti-human trafficking expert.
 
According to Roth, some authorities still lack a clear picture of the legislation or the policies concerned.
 
The report also points at the need for curtailing the demand for sex services. It is the demand which creates the market, says the ombudsman.
 
 
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