Challenges for the host society: Human trafficking, slavery and abuse in the work context

Maria Elo, Arla Juntunen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


The mobile labour force is benefiting host societies with diverse forms of human capital. The economic value and potential of people migrating for work offer incentives for the development of illicit and abusive practices that take advantage of the vulnerability of the migrants and the lack of institutional attention and experience. This may happen regardless of the skill level of the migrants, but especially those migrants who are new, inexperienced and low skilled may be targeted by actors who wish to exploit their lack of knowledge. These mechanisms may start as early as during recruitment in the home country by transnational criminal networks, but they also emerge organically in the host country if activity-scapes are available for such practices. This new phenomenon of human trafficking, slavery and abuse related to work has entered Finland during recent decades. The actors involved are often of foreign origin or within ethnic enclaves, which creates cultural and language-related divides at an institutional level as well. We found that a host country context that is highly developed may not have the institutional experience, understanding or attention required to combat the phenomenon effectively. We suggest that preventive governance with more targeted collaboration across governance, diaspora organisations and civil society could reduce illicit opportunities and increase awareness of what is appropriate and acceptable, i.e. decent work.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransitioning to decent work and economic growth
EditorsPhilippe Aerni, Marianthe Stavridou, Isabell Schlupp
PublisherMDPI Books
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20. Aug 2020
SeriesTransitioning to Sustainability

Bibliographical note

Transitioning to Decent Work and Economic Growth is part of MDPI's new Open Access book series Transitioning to Sustainability. With this series, MDPI pursues environmentally and socially relevant research which contributes to efforts toward a sustainable world. Transitioning to Sustainability aims to add to the conversation about regional and global sustainable development according to the 17 SDGs. Set to be published in spring 2020, and coinciding with the SDGs’ 5-year anniversary, the book series is intended to reach beyond disciplinary, even academic boundaries. Furthermore, Transitioning to Sustainability will be presented and serve as a basis for discussions at the World Sustainability Week, to be held from 14-19 September 2020 in Geneva.

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