Cablegate: Corrected Copy - See Paragraph 2 -- Finland: 2005

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (U) The Finnish Government is set to release its new
National Action Plan for combating trafficking-in-persons
sometime next week or the following week. The Plan will
detail new GoF measures to develop a victim-centered approach
to trafficking, a significant break with previous GoF policy.
Post hoped to have a copy of the National Action Plan before
submitting this update; however, as the March 1 deadline for
submission of TIP updates had already passed, we believe it
best to submit the update as is with the caveats that: 1)
some information, particularly as regards protection, may be
inaccurate or incomplete given the pending release of the new
Action Plan, and 2) Post's entire Justice and Home Affairs
Committee has not reviewed the update. Post will submit a
supplemental report as soon as the National Action Plan is

2. (U) Embassy point-of-contact for trafficking-related
issues is Political Officer David Schlaefer; phone
358-9-6162-5482, fax 358-9-6162-5766.

Hours spent on preparation:

Political Officer (FS-02): 60
Political Assistant (LES): 10
Regional Security Assistant (LES): 4
Total Hours: 74

3. (U) The following TIP update for Finland is keyed to the
checklist in reftel paragraphs 18,19,20, and 21.

(18.) Overview

A: Finland is not a country of origin for trafficked
persons. It is a destination and transit country for
trafficked women and girls. Police and NGO's estimate that
between 6000 to 8000 woman and girls enter Finland to engage
in prostitution each year; a significant portion of these
are probably trafficking victims brought into the country by
foreign organized crime syndicates. These estimates are
based on information collected by Finnish officials at
ports-of-entry and by NGOs working with foreign prostitutes.
However, are no official statistics compiled as regards
trafficking victims, and the actual number of trafficked
persons in Finland could be greater or lesser than the
6000-8000 range commonly cited by officials and NGOs alike.
Since the women and girls typically remain in Finland for
short periods, the 6000-8000 range refers to total entries
per year. the actual number of trafficked women in Finland
at any moment is probably much lower. There are no figures
available for how many women are trafficked through Finland
to other countries.

Most of the trafficked women are Russian or Estonian,
although smaller numbers of Latvian, Lithuanian, Ukrainian,
and Belarussian women have been detected in Finland.
Beginning in 2004, Asian women of varying nationalities were
also reported as having been trafficked to and through
Finland. Finnish police believe that many of these are being
transited through the country by Chinese crime syndicates
(snakehead gangs). Russian and Estonian women brought into
Finland by organized crime syndicates typically remain in the
country for several weeks before returning to their country
of origin; they may enter Finland multiple times each year.
Organizers and leaders of these crime syndicates operate
outside of Finland's borders and beyond the reach of its law
enforcement. However, these organizations maintain
lower-level members inside Finland to coordinate local
operations; such persons may be foreign nationals or Finns.

B: Most women and girls trafficked to and through Finland
come from Russia and Estonia. The EU's Schengen Treaty,
which allows travellers already within EU borders to travel
to any other EU country virtually without inspection,
facilitates the use of Finland as a transit point for women
from Russia and the Baltic countries. Economic coercion and
exploitation of poor women seems to play more of a role in
trafficking through Finland than physical coercion or
deception. However, the latter does occur. A documentary on
Finnish television on February 2005 carried an interview with
a Latvian minor who said that she had been deceived into
coming to Finland by being promised a job picking
strawberries. Once inside the country, she had been forced
to work in a brothel. The criminal syndicate (based in
Latvia and Estonia) that trafficked her into Finland used
threats against her family to coerce the young woman into
returning to Finland several times to work as a prostitute.
Women and girls who are trafficked through Finland to other
countries typically obtain legal visas from Finnish
consulates in St. Petersburg and Tallinn by claiming that
they are coming to Finland to shop or visit friends. Once
inside the country, they fly from Helsinki's Vantaa airport
to western European cities with large red-light districts
like Amsterdam, Brussels, and Berlin. The women may travel
alone, in small groups, or with a pimp or facilitator.

C: The Police report that the advent of direct air routes
between Helsinki and several major Asian cities has
facilitated the use of Finland as a transit point for Chinese
traffickers. Once inside Finland, Asian trafficking victims
travel from Helsinki to cities throughout Western Europe.
Embassy personnel have witnessed the arrival at Helsinki's
Vantaa airport of small groups of young Asian women who fit
the profile of trafficking victims; the women, having
arrived from Asia and cleared customs, immediately purchased
tickets to Schengen-area onward destinations. Finnish
authorities are aware of this, but report than in the absence
of concrete evidence that such women are being trafficked,
there is little that they can do since the women maintain
that they are tourists and deny involvement with traffickers.
The police are also wary of being accused of "racial
profiling" in relation to focusing on Asian women or other
non-Caucasians arriving at the airport.

D: Criminal intelligence analysts are aware of the major
trafficking routes and monitor changes in these routes.
Finnish police approach the situation as more of an organized
crime/organized prostitution dynamic than a purely
trafficking dynamic, and collect statistics accordingly;
this makes it difficult to document the exact extent of the
problem in Finland.

E: Most trafficking in Finland involves prostitution. Many
foreign prostitutes work in night clubs catering to business
and middle-class Finnish and foreign clientele, although some
trafficked prostitutes may work on the street. Others,
especially Estonians, work out of apartments that have been
rented by criminal organizations. In the fall of 2004, a
scandal occurred when police broke up a
prostitution/trafficking ring that used apartments owned by
the Russian Trade Mission; police are still investigating
the extent of Russian Embassy personnel involvement in the
operations. The conditions for the women who work in
nightclubs are generally better; according to the police,
they nay see between 2-3 clients per night (if any), and
negotiate directly with their clients. In the worst cases,
the women may see between 5-10 clients per day.

Compliance methods vary. In some cases, passports may be
withheld and violence used. In other cases, threats against
the woman's family in her home country may be used to secure
compliance. There is also evidence that electronic
surveillance methods such as the use of closed circuit
television cameras (CCTVs) outside apartments may be used to
monitor the comings and goings of both prostitutes and
clients. The CCTVs may be monitored remotely in Estonia or
Latvia, for example. However, most women brought into
Finland by criminal syndicates are poor, and economic
necessity probably encourages them to cooperate with
traffickers more often than physical coercion.

There is a lower incidence of trafficking for labor. Most of
these cases involve persons coerced into working in ethnic
restaurants and as maids. The trafficked persons are often
relatives of the "employers." They are often forced to work
long hours for low pay, and are often reluctant to come
forward due to the cultural gap and fear of deportation or
confinement. There are illegal workers in the construction
and agricultural industries, but these workers are typically
smuggled into Finland willingly rather than trafficked and
are "free" after arrival.

F: Not applicable.

G: There is will at the highest levels of Government to
combat trafficking. President Tarja Halonen participated in
the "Stop Child Trafficking-Modern Day Slavery" conference in
2003 co-sponsored by the Embassy and the GoF, and has
subsequently made combating TIP a priority. During the 2004
Istanbul NATO Summit, Halonen highlighted the importance of
the new NATO EAPC anti-trafficking policy in her address.
There have been no government officials linked to TIP, but it
is highly likely that if there were, the official(s) would be
prosecuted and, if found guilty, severely punished by Finnish
standards. The Finnish Government and police pride
themselves on their integrity, and corruption is not a
significant problem in the country. Finland has ranked first
for several years in a well known international survey of the
least corrupt countries. The Finnish Government generally
devotes relatively modest resources to law enforcement, and
this is reflected in the resources it devotes to combat
trafficking. Prevention efforts are chiefly made through
regional multilateral institutions that try to address the
root causes of TIP in source countries. Protection services
have been minimal in the past, but the GoF is now considering
the creation of a special Office of Victim's Advocate housed
in the Ministry for Social Welfare as well as the creation of
dedicated space in existing shelters for trafficking victims.
(Note: This section will be updated once the GoF's National
Action Plan is released). In the past, prosecution was
hampered by the absence of a legal statute against
trafficking and the fact that traffickers typically remain
outside the country. However, a new law went into effect in
August 2004 criminalizing TIP for the first time.

H: Government officials and authorities do not condone

I: Finland's overall crime rate is very low compared to
other EU countries. As a result, law enforcement and
prosecutors are chronically underfunded, and this affects the
Finnish Government's ability to address trafficking. The
Finnish Constitution also emphasizes civil liberties and, in
practice, this sometimes constrains the state from pursuing
investigations as aggressively as they might be pursued in
some other countries. Corruption is not a problem in Finland.

J: In the past, the GoF viewed this issue as more of an
organized crime/organized prostitution problem than as a
trafficking problem, and accordingly did not systematically
monitor its anti-trafficking efforts in the areas of
prosecution, prevention, and protection. However, this began
to change in 2004 as the GoF moved toward a victim-centered
approach to trafficking. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs
has indicated that Finland's new National Action Plan to
combat trafficking (due in March 2005) will contain
recommendations to develop a more government-wide,
systematized monitoring approach. The GoF regularly reports
and discusses TIP bilaterally with other governments and in
multilateral fora such as the OSCE, the Nordic Council of
Ministers, the Barents Sea States Council, the Council of
Baltic Sea States, and others.

K: Prostitution is legal in Finland. It is unregulated.
The age of consent is 18. Pimping and pandering are illegal.
In 2004 the police began to issue fines to clients
soliciting sexual services in public. This was a high-level
policy decision, and was possible under existing penal
statutes without passing new legislation. The Justice
Minister in 2004 announced that the Government would seek to
make the purchase of all sexual services illegal, and set a
2005 target date. There is strong social opposition to
criminalizing prostitution, however. Many feminist and
women's welfare organizations in Finland argue that women
should have the right engage in prostitution if they so
desire and/or that criminalizing prostitution would make the
lot of prostitutes worse than it is currently is. It is
unclear whether the GoF will seek to criminalize prostitution
given the unpopularity of such a measure with the Finnish

(19.) Prevention

A: The Finnish Government acknowledges that trafficking is a
problem in Finland.

B: The Ministries for Foreign Affairs, Interior, Justice,
Labor, Education, and Social Welfare are all involved in
combating TIP. They are all represented on the GoF's
interagency anti-TIP working group which was established in
2004. The Human Rights Caucus of Finland's Parliament and
its chairperson, Ulla Anttila, are involved in
anti-trafficking efforts. The National Bureau of
Investigation (NBI), Frontier Guards, Customs and
Immigration, and various municipal police are all involved in
anti-TIP efforts.

C: The Ministry for Social Affairs in 2004 ran an
anti-trafficking campaign aimed at public awareness and
demand reduction. Public awareness campaigns were also
conducted in Finnish secondary schools. Most information and
education campaigns inside Finland are carried out by NGOs;
however, many of these receive grants from the Finnish
Government. The GoF's prevention efforts are aimed at
stopping trafficking in regional source countries before
trafficked women enter the country. Finland actively
participates in cooperative efforts among the Council of
Baltic Sea States, the Nordic Council of Ministers, and the
Barents Euro-Arctic Council to develop prevention measures.
These organizations launched a "Nordic-Baltic Task Force
Against Trafficking" on Nov. 27, 2003. The Task Force, which
receives funding from the GoF, has a three-year mandate. The
Task Force launched its first project in the fall of 2004 in
the Murmansk and Archangel Oblasts in Russia. Working with
Oblast officials, the GoF and other Nordic governments are
developing and promoting economic alternatives for
disadvantaged women and girls most at risk for trafficking.
Another GoF initiative, the "Nordic-Baltic Campaign Against
Trafficking in Women," aims to increase cooperation among
women's organizations and NGOs not previously involved in
trafficking issues in regional source countries. The
"Campaign" has, among other activities, sponsored
demand-reduction efforts in airports, harbors, and other
ports-of-entry in Finland. In May 2004, Finland's MFA
provided a 2,521,000 Euro grant to the International
Organization for Migration (IOM) for "trafficking prevention
and capacity-building" in Nordic-Baltic regional source
countries. This grant was the largest TIP-related grant the
GoF has ever made, and one of the largest single grants that
Finland has ever given to any non-governmental organization.
The Embassy in the fall of 2004 also facilitated a successful
grant proposal for a Finnish-Estonian NGO project that aims
to raise public awareness and provide victim assistance
services and build cooperation between Finland and Estonia.

D: See above response to Section 19 C.

E: The Government has the ability and will to support
prevention campaigns, as described in paragraph 19 C.

F: The relationship between the GoF and NGOs on TIP has
markedly improved since 2003; the decision by the GoF to
develop a more victim-centered approach to combating TIP is
primarily responsible for this. An interagency working group
was created in the fall of 2004 to draft a new National
Action Plan on trafficking, and NGOs were included on the
working group. The GoF provides funding to NGOs from
slot-machine revenues for services such as a phone hotline
for abused or battered women (60,000-70,000 Euro in 2004) and
a rape-crisis center (30,000-40,000 Euro in 2004). Although
such services are not specific to trafficking victims, they
are utilized by them as well as by Finnish victims of
domestic abuse.

G: Finnish police and Frontier Guards adequately monitor its
borders. Finland has a 900-mile border with Russia, the EU's
longest contiguous border with a non-EU nation. Finnish
officials monitor immigration and emigration patterns for
evidence of trafficking using the most modern information
technology. Data bases are shared among law enforcement
organizations, and the same information on foreign applicants
for admission is available to officials at any port-of-entry.
Police believe that very few women are trafficked illegally
into the country without inspection. Most enter with valid
visas obtained at Finnish consulates abroad.

Finnish authorities interview and refuse entry to women
suspected of being trafficked into the country for
prostitution. They attempt to follow up with investigations
of possible trafficking organizations whenever possible.
Finnish consular officials in Russia and Estonia have
difficulty in recognizing trafficking situations since even
women with limited financial resources may credibly claim
that they are travelling to Finland for short trips. Russia
exerts political pressure on Finland to keep visa refusals
low. Some women will discreetly tip off Finnish consular
officials that they wish their visas refused, and the
officials oblige. However, they usually do not follow up on
such cases due to limited resources.

H: There is no multi-agency anti-TIP task force in the law
enforcement community. However, there is an interagency
working group at the policy level. Communication among
various agencies about efforts to combat TIP is generally

I: In additional to the regional multilateral fora already
mentioned, the GoF plays an active role in EU efforts to
combat trafficking. The Finnish police maintain liaison
officers in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia. An
Estonian liaison officer is stationed at NBI headquarters in
Helsinki. In 2004, the Finnish police liaison in Latvia was
involved in the investigation and eventual prosecution (in
Latvia) of a Baltic trafficking ring that sent women and
girls to Finland and Sweden.

In March 2005, Finland hosted a major NATO conference on the
prevention, protection, and prosecution of TIP in areas of
NATO crisis management operations. Finland is not a NATO
member, but is an active participant in NATO's Partnership
for Peace. The conference was co-hosted by Markus Lyra,
Finland's Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs, and
Robert Simmons, NATO's Deputy Assistant Secretary General.
The conference was aimed at sharing best practices in
implementing the EAPC policy on combating TIP agreed to at
the 2004 Istanbul Summit. It undertook, inter alia, to
discuss the difficulties inherent in NATO anti-TIP policy
given the different approaches to trafficking, prostitution,
etc., among NATO member states.

J: The GoF in the fall of 2004 formed an interagency working
group to draft a new National Action Plan to combat TIP based
on a victim-centered approach. The working group is chaired
by Johanna Suurpaa, the Director of the Unit for Human Rights
at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Other members include
representatives from the Justice, Interior, Labor, Social
Welfare, and Education Ministries, from Parliament, from the
State Prosecutors Office, from NBI and the Frontier Guards,
and from NGOs. The group's final 50-page report, which will
include the completed National Action Plan, will be released
and published in mid-March 2005. The Embassy will report on
the National Action Plan in a supplemental septel as soon as
it is released.

K: There is no single entity or person responsible for
anti-TIP efforts, although Johanna Suurpaa, the Director of
the MFA's Unit for Human Rights, is the Chair of the GoF's
interagency working group.

(20.) Investigation and Prosecution of Traffickers

A: Finland in August 2004 enacted legislation making
trafficking-in-persons a criminal offense. The law was
lifted almost verbatim from that found in the Palermo
agreement and covers both internal and external forms of
trafficking. The law covers trafficking for purposes of
sexual exploitation and for non-sexual purposes such as labor

B: The maximum penalty for persons convicted of trafficking
is 7 years for each count. This penalty is sufficient to
allow the Finnish police to use electronic surveillance
techniques such as wiretaps to investigate trafficking rings.
There is no distinction made between sexual exploitation or
forced labor as far as stipulated trafficking penalties are

C: The average penalty for rape is 2 years imprisonment.

D: There have not yet been any convictions under Finland's
new anti-TIP law. However, police advise that there are
investigations currently underway that could lead to charges.
The Frontier Guards report that there were approximately 12
investigations in 2004 that led to multiple arrests and the
break-up of prostitution rings; these arrests were of
lower-level members of organized crime syndicates. Since the
police have not keep separate statistics on
trafficking-related arrests, they are unable to estimate how
many individuals may have been prosecuted for pimping and
related offenses who were traffickers. The average sentences
for lower-level organized crime types was 6 months to one
year in prison; some were deported to their country of
origin. A high-profile investigation in 2004 by Finnish,
Latvian, and Estonian law enforcement led to the break-up of
a major prostitution ring that funneled women and girls from
Estonia and Latvia to Finland. The traffickers were
ultimately tried and convicted in Latvia.

E: Trafficking-in-persons to Finland is chiefly organized by
Estonian and Russian crime syndicates based outside of
Finnish territory. After the collapse of the Soviet Union,
there was a period of bloody conflict in the Nordic-Baltic
region for control over smuggling and trafficking routes. In
the late 90's, these organizations reached a modus vivendi
and divided Finland (and other countries) into different
territories. Russian syndicates control Northern Finland,
the Turku area, and share territory in Helsinki and Karelia.
Estonian syndicates share control of Helsinki and control the
Tampere and Central Finland areas. These criminal syndicates
also engage in smuggling, narcotics trafficking, and
non-genuine currency fraud. Employment, travel, and tourism
agencies are not typically used as fronts for organized
crime. There are several well known nightclubs in Helsinki
that are controlled by or associated with crime
organizations, trafficking, and prostitution. Government
officials are not involved in this activity. Money is
collected in cash and taken by land or sea ferry to Russia
and Estonia for further distribution. There was a scandal in
2004 involving the Russian Trade Mission (housed in the
Russian Embassy in Helsinki) and prostitution. According to
Finnish authorities, Russian prostitutes were operating out
of apartments owned or leased by the Russian Trade Mission.
The Russian Embassy denied all knowledge of such activity.
The investigation was still underway at the time this report
was produced.

F: The GoF actively investigates trafficking cases.
Electronic surveillance methods are allowable under Finland's
new anti-TIP law.

G: The Government provides specialized training for
officials in how to recognize and investigate TIP. The
Embassy and the GoF collaborated to bring an expert TIP
consultant (Nicholas Sensley) to Finland to act as an
anti-trafficking trainer and catalyst for Finnish officials
as they move to implement their new anti-trafficking
legislation. Sensley conducted three full days of seminars
addressing key Finnish players involved in anti-trafficking
efforts from Sept. 13-15 2004. He conducted two practical
workshops on "Collaboratively Combating Human Trafficking"
(one for 35 law enforcement and prosecutorial officials
representing all relevant Finnish agencies and districts, and
one for 15 activists from key non-governmental organizations)
and held roundtables with GoF policymakers (including the new
interagency working group and Members of Parliament) on
effective anti-TIP measures. After Sensley's visit, the NGO
which hosted one seminar followed through on his advice and
established a network of Finnish NGOs engaged in trafficking
prevention and/or victims' assistance. The group
subsequently initiated cooperation with Finland's Central
Criminal Investigations Police and are working together to
maximize the resources and capabilities available at each of
the participating NGOs.

H: The GoF actively collaborates with other governments in
the investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases.
According to the State Prosecutor's Office, Finland in 2004
collaborated on 7 major investigations of trafficking and
prostitution rings with regional partners such as Estonia and
Latvia. The most noteworthy case was that mentioned in
paragraph 20 (D) involving women and girls trafficked from
the Baltic countries to Finland, and which eventually
resulted in convictions in Latvia.

I: The GoF in 2004 extradited a Finnish national to Latvia
to stand trial for trafficking-in-persons. The Finn was
ultimately convicted and sentenced to prison. The GoF in
2003 and 2004 brought charges against Finnish nationals
residing in Finland for sex acts with minors in Russia and
Estonia respectively. These cases received considerable
attention in Finland and were clearly intended to send a
signal to Finnish clients that the Government intends to
track down and punish whenever possible Finns who engage in
sex tourism with minors outside of Finland.

J: There is no government involvement in or tolerance of

K: Not applicable.

L: Not applicable.

M: The GoF has signed and ratified the listed ILO, CRC, and
UN conventions.

(21.) Protection and Assistance to Victims

A: In the past, the Finnish Government has provided only
limited assistance to trafficking victims. Women from the
Baltic countries are usually not deported and allowed to
remain in Finland or return home voluntarily. Women from
Russia and elsewhere are deported. The police sometimes make
unofficial arrangements with shelters, NGOs, etc., to assist
trafficking victims. The GoF also occasionally provides
temporary residence in certain cases. However, in most
cases, current policy is to ultimately deport foreign
prostitutes. There are no Government-run shelters for
trafficking victims and no HIV/AIDS screening facilities.
Asylum seekers are provided temporary shelter in
Government-run reception centers. Many asylum seekers
disappear from these centers (which are open) and presumably
leave Finland for elsewhere in the Schengen area.

This situation is expected to change in the near future. In
2004, the GoF announced that it would alter its previous
approach to trafficking and develop a victim-centered
approach to trafficking based on best practices in other
countries. The Embassy played a significant role in
encouraging the GoF to adopt this approach. In June, the
Embassy organized a Voluntary Visitor (VOLVIS) program for a
group of Finns from institutions that play different roles in
the TIP dynamic. Representatives from the Foreign Ministry,
Social Affairs Ministry, Parliament, Lutheran Church, and
NGOs travelled to the U.S. to consult with American
counterparts in several cities at the federal, state, and
local level. The visit helped the Finns form an initial
informal interagency anti-TIP network, and then in September,
an official interagency working group was established to
draft a new National Action Plan. The Chair of the new
working group, Johanna Suurpaa, was one of the VOLVIS
participants. The Action Plan, due out in March, will aim to
implement the new victim-centered approach by eliminating
practices such as the quick deportation of women who have
come forward for help and by providing temporary shelter and
economic options to victims.

In September of 2004 the GoF hosted a major OSCE conference
on protection measures and victim assistance. More than 200
participants from a variety of countries participated in the
two-day conference in Helsinki. The conference was
co-chaired by Finland's Minister for Justice Johannes
Koskinen. It was during this conference that the GoF
announced the formation of the interagency group to draft the
new National Action Plan and signaled its support for a
victim-centered approach to trafficking.

B: The Finnish Government provides funding to several
multilateral organizations such as the Nordic Council of
Ministers, the Barents Euro-Arctic Council, and the Baltic
Sea States Council, which in turn fund NGO victim-assistance
projects outside Finland. Finland gave a major 2.5 million
Euro grant to the IOM in 2004. Revenue from
Government-controlled slot machine monopolies funds victim
assistance measures such as those described in Paragraph 19

C: There is no screening or referral system in place to
transfer victims placed in protective custody to NGOs,
although the police report that they unofficially do this in
some cases.

D: Finland has strong victims rights law, although in
practice, many TIP victims are not informed of these rights
by the police. Current government policy is either to
release the women without assistance (Baltic nationalities)
or deport them (Russia, etc.) Women are not abused or
mistreated by government of police officials while in custody.

E: Finnish authorities encourage victims to assist in
investigations in some cases; women who do so may be allowed
to remain in Finland temporarily through stays of deportation
and other means. However, police state that most women are
reluctant to cooperate and wish to return to their country of
origin (or simply be released) as quickly as possible. In
theory, victims may bring charges against traffickers even if
prosecutors decline to do so; however, this has never
actually happened. Victims are not permitted to obtain
employment. There is no victim restitution program.

F: There is no witness protection program in Finland.

G: See Paragraph 20. G on training.

H: There are no Finnish victims of trafficking who have been
repatriated to Finland. Finland is not a source country for
trafficked women and girls.

I: There are no NGOs specifically dedicated to working with
TIP victims in Finland. However, there are several NGOs that
focus on women's rights and general victim assistance issues
which include assistance to trafficking victims. These
include the umbrella organization "NYTKIS," "The National
Council of Women in Finland," "Monika-Naiset," "The Finnish
League for Human Rights Association," The Finnish UN
Association," and the "Pro-Tupikiste" organization. These
NGOs operate or fund shelters for battered women, a rape
crisis center, phone hotlines for women in distress, and
counseling services. The "Pro-Tupikiste" organization works
with prostitutes and provides a gamut of services and
information for them on issues such as HIV/AIDS and other
health concerns.

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