IOM approach

While numbers of estimated victims of trafficking worldwide vary, they are reported as being in the millions and most importantly, they are constantly on the rise. Moreover, estimates often do not include individuals who are victims within the borders of their own countries.

Organized criminal groups are earning billions of dollars in profits from trafficking and exploiting people - many of whom are victims of severe human rights violations.

Trafficking in human beings is driven by a demand for cheap labour, products and services. Poverty, lack of opportunities, discrimination and other difficulties in life make people vulnerable to exploitation, and to fall victim to human trafficking.

Trafficking in human beings can be understood as a chain of events leading to exploitation of its victims. These include:

  • Recruitment of a victim often by offering work or better opportunities elsewhere
  • Transportation or transfer of a victim to the place of exploitation
  • Receiving and harbouring a victim in transit and in the destination
  • Exploitation of a victim (sexual, labour, servitude) for money to benefit traffickers

Traffickers use different methods to lure victims and to keep them working for them, including deception, debt-bondage, psychological manipulation, and even threats and violence. 


Definition of trafficking of persons:

“[T]he recruitment, transportation,transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of threat, use of force or other means of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the receiving or giving of payment… to a person having control over another person,for the purpose of exploitation.”
Article 3 of the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime

Read more about counter-trafficking on our IOM's global page.


What We Do

IOM assists 1 in 7 victims of trafficking identified worldwide through its counter-trafficking programmes and projects.

IOM has been working to counter the trafficking in human beings since 1994. We aim to protect and empower victims of trafficking; to enhance awareness and understanding of trafficking in human beings; and to bring justice to victims.

Ferry Project



At IOM Helsinki, we have been engaged with counter-trafficking since the beginning of the century (2001) though coordinating sub-regional and national activities in awareness raising, training, research and in offering victims of trafficking Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration services. IOM Helsinki represents the Organization in the National coordination network on counter-trafficking of the Finnish Ministry of the Interior.

The focal points of IOM Helsinki’s work on counter-trafficking 2015-2020 are:

  1. Empowering and assisting victims of trafficking
  2. Enhancing counter-trafficking awareness, knowledge and skills for improved impact
  3. Prevention of trafficking through cooperation with countries of origin, transit and destination 

To meet these goals, IOM Finland works together with partners from public, private, and third sectors in Finland and in Nordic and Baltic countries.

IOM Finland participates in the National coordination network on counter-trafficking of the Finnish Ministry of the Interior.



  • Caring for Trafficked Persons in Finland (HOIKU) project 2017-2019 (funded by STEA, the Funding Centre for Social Welfare and Health Organisations)
  • Addressing trafficking for labour exploitation:

  • Private-public partnership in addressing trafficking in persons on the Baltic Sea 
    • Read here the research report “Addressing Human Trafficking in the Baltic Sea” co-funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers and conducted by the European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control, affiliated with the United Nations (HEUNI).
    • Read here the learning material for passenger ferry personnel.
    • Link to a video and story in Finnish about this project. "Silmiä avaava koulutus ihmiskaupasta"
  • Enhancing awareness and networking in counter-trafficking among Nordic health professionals
    • Read here the results of a survey conducted among health professionals in Finland (available in Finnish) 
  • Co-operation with The Guides and Scouts of Finland on awareness raising on human trafficking
  • Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) for Victims of Trafficking Finland and Sweden 
  • Public awareness raising campaigns in Finland




  • Over 110 victims of trafficking assisted since 2011
  • 415 persons trained in counter-trafficking since 2014
  • 242 health professionals engaged in an online survey assessing counter-trafficking knowledge and needs in the Finnish health sector in 2015
  • 72,742 reactions in social media to IOM Helsinki’s 2012 counter-trafficking campaign
  • 1,220,496 audience contacts reached through IOM Helsinki’s counter-trafficking campaign in 2016 


More Information

You can read more information on IOM Finland's Counter-Trafficking Leaflet.