Ladies and Gentlemen,
Finland considers trafficking in persons a grave human rights violation and a serious global problem. It undermines the principles of a democratic society, the rule of law and respect for human dignity. In order to tackle human trafficking, and all forms of criminal networks and organized crime connected to it, it is paramount to work together at the international level, at the regional level and at the local level with a variety of stakeholders, be they authorities, non-governmental organizations or other actors.
We consider this meeting essential in highlighting the continuing need for wide coorperation and reaffirming the commitment of member states to the UN Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons.
International obligations and best practices underline that a holistic approach must be realized in all counter-trafficking actions.
Finland has ratified the international agreements relating to trafficking in human beings, transposed them into national legislation and takes part in monitoring of their implementation within, for example, the UN and the Council of Europe frameworks. During the past few years we have worked to develop our national system, to be able to better prevent trafficking, protect victims and prosecute perpetrators. We have appointed a national coordinator for anti-trafficking in order to work better together. The national rapporteur on trafficking, who maintains an independent role and reports directly to Parliament, remains an important part of our system.
There is a lot to be done to be able to better prevent, protect and prosecute. Identifying victims is a priority. But the identification of victims, especially victims of secual exploitation, remains a challenge also in Finland. Victims living on the margins of society, sometimes as undocumented migrants are often hard to reach for authorities. Civil society hold a central role in finding and assisting them. Developoing functional partnerships is therefore a key element of our anti-trafficking strategy.
It is difficult to quantify the number of victims of trafficking. According to estimates by the United Nations there are tens of millions of victims at the global level. Most of the detected trafficking victims continue to be vicims of sexual exploitation. Out of all detected victims, about a half are women and a fifth are girls. As a human rights violation trafficking requires a human rights-based approach. Special attention should be paid to the gendered nature of the crime. The specific needs of women, gilrs and victims of sexual exploitation and abuse must be taken into account developing assistance systems.
Finland remains firmly committed to the UN Global Plan of Actions to Combat Trafficking in Persons.