Nordic Baltic Network - support to women victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation
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National situation and policy developments

In 2005 the government adopted a National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking which was the first comprehensive measure to combat trafficking in Finland. The plan called for a victim centered approach to trafficking, including strengthened victim protection measures, an end to quick deportation of foreign victims, increased social and economic assistance for victims, and aggressive prosecution of traffickers.

In July 2006 the country conducted the first-ever prosecutions under anti-trafficking laws. Seven men and one woman were convicted and were given sentences ranging from 27 months to five years. The case involved the trafficking and sexual exploitation of 15 Estonian women.

The ministries for foreign affairs, interior, justice, labor, education, and social welfare are all involved in combating trafficking, and each is represented on the interagency anti-trafficking working group.

Some legal provisions

Finnish law prohibits trafficking in persons. The maximum penalty for trafficking in persons is seven years in prison. There are various other laws related to trafficking offenses that can be used to convict traffickers, including laws against organized prostitution, the dissemination of child pornography, the coordination of illegal entry into the country, and the marketing of sexual services.

Reflection period: 30 days.

Residence permits for VOTs: Victims of trafficking can receive temporary residence permits for 6 months. Such permits are conditional upon cooperation in criminal proceedings. The permits allows victims to remain in the country temporarily while recovering, seek employment, have access to healthcare and legal services, and have the opportunity to apply later for permanent residency

While the police or border guard can grant reflection period to the victim and take care of criminal proceedings, the Directorate of Immigration is responsible for granting residence permits.

Assistance to victims of trafficking: Decisions of whether a woman is entitled to assistance or not is taken by the director of the reception centre. VOTs are required by law to cooperate with authorities, and assistance is made conditional upon the cooperation.