A new instruction card shows how to recognise labour exploitation and human trafficking
Human trafficking is a serious offence directed against a person where the offender takes advantage of the vulnerability, trust or dependency of the victim and subjects him or her to labour exploitation or sexual abuse, for example. The Centre of Expertise in Immigrant Integration of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment has published an instruction card to help those involved in integration and others to recognise labour exploitation and human trafficking. The card also provides instructions on what to do if suspicions of exploitation or human trafficking arise in a customer service situation.
Labour exploitation is more prevalent in low-wage sectors and sectors where the use of temporary agency workers, posted workers and subcontractors is common. Many immigrants work in these sectors. Immigrants are often in a vulnerable position. The victims may be reluctant to tell about their treatment for fear of losing their residence permit, for example.
Recognising abuse requires a receptive way to encounter customers
According to the instruction card, it is easier to recognise abuse if there is time to focus on the customer’s situation, i.e. listen, observe and pay attention. It is advisable to inform the customer and the interpreter, if one is involved in the discussion, that both the interpreter and the customer adviser have a non-disclosure and secrecy obligation.
The instruction card includes questions that can be used to assess the customer’s situation. The questions relate to the customer’s situation, working conditions, employment relationship and pay.
In any case, recognising human trafficking and exploitation is a process. The most important thing for the customer adviser is to listen, build trust, respond to the need for help raised in the situation and, if necessary, refer the customer to other services or ask for advice (without submitting the customer’s personal data) from the assistance system for victims of human trafficking, for example.
Victims of human trafficking and exploitation need immediate assistance
If, based on the discussion or questions asked by the customer adviser, there is suspicion of human trafficking or exploitation, it is important to look into the customer’s situation in more detail. The customer may need immediate support and referral to health and social services.
The customer may also be advised to contact the assistance system for victims of human trafficking or the Victim Support Finland (RIKU) advisory service. The services provide support for filing a report of an offence, for example. Civil society organisations can also help victims of human trafficking or exploitation. The card also contains useful contact information and links to additional information.
The instruction card How to recognise labour exploitation and human trafficking? will be published in Finnish first and translated into Swedish and English later.
Developing the working life skills and capabilities of victims of human trafficking
The instruction card was produced as part of the common IKUT project of the Centre of Expertise in Immigrant Integration of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control (HEUNI) and the assistance system for victims of human trafficking. The IKUT project develops services on working life skills and capabilities for victims of human trafficking, increases awareness about the position of victims of human trafficking in working life, and promotes the private sector’s participation in work against human trafficking.
The project, which is coordinated by the assistance system for victims of human trafficking, has arranged working life training for victims of exploitation, among other things. The European Social Fund funds the project and the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centre) of Häme grants the funding.
Minna Säävälä, Chief Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, [email protected], tel. +358 295 047 260
Saija Korkeakangas, Project Manager, IKUT project, Assistance system for victims of human trafficking, [email protected], tel. +358 295 463 088
Anniina Jokinen, Senior Programme Officer, HEUNI, [email protected], tel. +358 50 351 7044