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Cablegate: Finland: Elevating Trafficking Prosecution

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHHE #0563/01 3471355
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 121355Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY HELSINKI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4704
INFO RUEHCP/AMEMBASSY COPENHAGEN 4135
RHEFHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS HELSINKI 000563

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR/NB
COPENHAGEN FOR DHS/ICE/JMACDOWELL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM KTIP ELAB SOCI FI
SUBJECT: FINLAND: ELEVATING TRAFFICKING PROSECUTION

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. The Finnish government has been
proactively pursuing trafficking cases and opportunities to
raise public awareness about trafficking. A Finnish court
recently handed down prison sentences to five Finns for a
trafficking case involving a single Finnish woman. Finnish
authorities specifically sought to elevate the prosecutions
to aggravated trafficking offenses, given the gravity of the
case. On December 10 Ambassador Barrett and ICE Deputy
Director Michael E. Feinberg met with Finnish authorities to
mark the launch of a new public service announcement intended
to raise awareness about trafficking in Finland. Finnish
authorities requested use of the US-created video after
viewing it at a previous conference. This is the first time
ICE has shared the video with another country. END SUMMARY.

Finnish authorities press trafficking case
------------------------------------------

2. (U) On December 9 the Finnish media reported on prison
sentences imposed on three men and two women for human
trafficking and fraud. The crimes occurred in Kotka, a small
city in southeastern Finland. According to press reports,
last summer the five - all from Kotka - held an 18-year-old
woman from Kotka for a week, during which they physically
assaulted her and forced her to provide sexual services. The
group also took out loans in the victim's name. The
sentences ranged from two to five-and-one-half years; the
defendants were also ordered to pay the victim approximately
15,000 euros for pain and suffering. The district prosecutor
reportedly described the trafficking case as unusual, given
that the victim and the perpetrators knew each other and all
events occurred within Finland's borders.

3. (SBU) In a December 10 conversation about the case with
PolAsst, Finnish District Judge Arto Helenius pointed out
that Finnish law contains no requirement that trafficking be
linked to crossing borders, nor that it involve immigrants.
He commented that aggravated human trafficking is considered
far more serious within the Finnish legal system than cases
of forced labor or sexual exploitation, and that the Kotka
case was raised to a trafficking charge because:

(1) The case involved the threat and use of severe physical
violence (including hitting, strangling and air pellet gun
shots);

(2) The case involved a strong denial of physical freedom;

(3) The defendants looted the victim's personal assets and
property, including social welfare payments;

(4) The defendants pimped and forced the victim to provide
sexual services, including 200 "announcements" and five
attempts to set up meetings (receiving payment three times);
and

(5) The defendants based their crimes on a fictitious 6,000
euro debt with the victim, which prosecution considered a
conspiracy to commit the crimes.

4. (SBU) In a December 10 conversation with PolOff, Jukka
Martikainen of the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation
(NBI) sid that NBI applied pressure on the local authorities
to pursue the case under the trafficking statute, due to its
gravity. Martikainen also provided an NBI press release that
states that so far all trafficking convictions in Finland
have been related to sexual abuse in pandering. (NOTE: The
press release includes a description of what the NBI
considers to be trafficking in human beings: sexual abuse in
a form which resembles a pandering offense, forced labor and
other types of force into demeaning circumstances, and trade
in bodily organs for financial gain. They describe the
essential elements of the statutory definition to be the
victim's induction into something such as prostitution or
abuse of the victim through a dependent or insecure state
where they are not allowed to exercise free will. END NOTE.)

NBI launches public service announcement
----------------------------------------

5. (U) On December 10 NBI launched a video prepared in
cooperation with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
to advertise a helpline/hotline number for obtaining
information about and reporting alleged instances of
trafficking. Earlier this year Martikainen was shown the ICE
video and sought to use it in Finland; this is the first time
that ICE has cooperated with another country and permitted
use of the video, which shows images of trafficking victims
and now provides captions in Finnish. Ambassador Barrett and
ICE Deputy Director Feinberg met NBI representatives at
Embassy Helsinki on December 10 to express appreciation for
the Finns' cooperation on combating trafficking.

BARRETT

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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