Minister Risikko: Cooperation and education to fight human trafficking
"Trafficking in human beings is a serious violation of fundamental human rights and it is completely against the values for which the Nordic countries are fighting everywhere in the world," said Minister of Social Affairs and Health Paula Risikko when she addressed the Nordic Council Session in Copenhagen on Thursday, 3 November. Among the topics on the Session agenda was a report on the Nordic Council of Ministers' efforts to fight trafficking in human beings. The Nordic Councils of Ministers are fighting human trafficking through intersectoral collaboration, including collaboration between gender equality, justice and social and health sectors. The Nordic countries cooperate in prevention, in developing resources and skills as well as in promoting cooperation between the authorities and NGOs.
"Only by improving the coordination and information exchange between our countries can we fight this kind of international criminality and the cynical exploitation of people in need of help," Minister Risikko continued. "The Nordic countries and the neighbouring areas are already now fighting against trafficking in human beings, and there are many actors involved in this. An example of successful regional cooperation is a project, which the Nordic and Baltic countries have just recently completed, on alleviating the physical and psychological consequences for victims of trafficking in women," Minister Risikko said.
Risikko also related that a set of recommendations for developing the legislation and measures on human trafficking was completed in Finland in April 2011. It is recommended, for example, that proposals for a comprehensive special act on human trafficking and for provisions on the identification of victims of human trafficking are drawn up. "An important task in Finland is that the authorities dealing with human trafficking are trained to identify different kinds of victims of human trafficking", Minister Risikko stated. Also some new forms of trafficking in human beings, such as the exploitation of children for begging, have emerged in the Nordic countries in recent years. Therefore, the report on the efforts to fight human trafficking, which the Ministers of Nordic Cooperation adopted in February 2011, draws attention also to forced labour and the child perspective.
Other social and health policy themes in the Nordic Council's 63rd Session included a Nordic action plan to prevent multi-drug resistance in humans and animals as well as Nordic cooperation in the employment of persons with spinal cord injury and the research on spinal cord injuries. Several Nordic side events were organised during the Session.
In her address, Minister Risikko also presented the Nordic Council of Ministers' report on the mainstreaming of the gender perspective in Nordic cooperation. She also told that during the Finnish Presidency, the gender equality cooperation has produced information on the gender perspective in the work against climate change. The Finnish Presidency has also published a new web portal on the subject.Further information
Heidi Manns-Haatanen, Senior Officer, Legal Affairs, MSAH, tel. +358 50 5252309, [email protected]
Maria Waltari, Senior Officer, MSAH, tel. +358 50 3647815, [email protected]
Annamari Asikainen, Senior Officer, MSAH, tel. +358 50 5125617, [email protected]