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Cablegate: Finland: Proposed Residency Permits for Tip

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

UNCLAS HELSINKI 001145

SIPDIS

STATE FOR G/TIP, EUR/NB

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM SOCI SMIG FI
SUBJECT: FINLAND: PROPOSED RESIDENCY PERMITS FOR TIP
VICTIMS


1. (U) Officials at the Interior Ministry told Poloff that
they intend to draft a proposed amendment to Finland's
"Aliens Act" that would allow trafficking-in-persons victims
to receive temporary residency permits. The proposed permits
would allow TIP victims to remain in Finland for up to one
year. Victims could work and receive social security
benefits (health and housing assistance, etc.) during that
time, and the permits could be extended beyond the initial
year. Permit holders would also be eligible to apply for
permanent residency status based on employment or other
factors. Eligibility for the proposed residency permits
would be based on at least some cooperation with Finnish law
enforcement officials investigating the victim's case. The
exact nature of such cooperation is still under
consideration. The MoI said that the proposed amendment
would be vetted by Finland's inter-agency TIP working group
before submission to Parliament and the Government. Little
opposition is expected, and the MoI hopes the amendment can
be enacted sometime next year.

2. (U) Comment: This is an important step for Finland,
both in terms of providing greater protection for TIP victims
and in terms of increasing investigations, prosecutions, and
convictions. The biggest gap in Finland's protection
measures to this point has been the GoF's policy of quickly
deporting TIP victims from certain countries like Russia and
Ukraine (although in practice, the policy was not always
enforced). Extending residency permits to TIP victims was
one of the chief recommendations in Finland's new National
Action Plan, and the MoI's quick action on the issue is a
positive sign that the GoF is serious about the plan's
implementation. The protection provided will also give
incentive to assist the police in prosecuting traffickers.

HYATT

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