Human trafficking – get ready for another onslaught of xenophobia and labeling

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Should we be surprised that YLE is planning another one-sided “debate” in April on human trafficking? The problem with this type of “debate,” like the one before that on March 2 on how asylum seekers have fueled uncertainty in Finland, is that it follows a common narrative that white Finland has of Otherness: You are a threat and a problem. 

Certainly we should be concerned about human trafficking but it is hypocritical to overlook the fact that it is our indifference and Fortress Europe mentality that have given human traffickers a good opportunity to exploit asylum seekers fleeing war and poverty.

Blaming asylum seekers, like anti-immigration parties do in Finland and Europe, is disingenuous. Such parties would care less about the plight of asylum seekers and their solutions for such people is frightening.

What is, even more, surprising about the article below is that it is being made by Kirsi Pimiä, the non-discrimination ombudsman. Nowhere in the story does Pimiä challenge that common narrative that migrants are a problem for Finland. 

If I were the journalist writing the story I’d ask her why not one, yes, not one, minority representative is working for the non-discrimination ombudsman.

The YLE article below leads with the following statement:

Marriages of convenience are a new form of human trafficking also in Finland together with forced labor and sexual exploitation. In our country we are treating close to one hundred human trafficking victims.

With provocative leads like the above written in the present xenophobic context of Finland one questions that sincerity of the article and its concern for human trafficking victims.

The most effective way to stop human trafficking is to create humane and easier paths for asylum seekers to come to Europe. Stop labelling ALL asylum seekers and migrants and do something to stop human trafficking, which Europe is guilty of promoting.

Näyttökuva 2016-3-9 kello 8.20.08
Read full story (in Finnish) here.

After being a journalist for over twenty years, I personally don’t trust the Finnish media when it comes to topics like migration and cultural diversity. The Finnish media suffers from being too white. It cannot see in too many cases past their noses and role as the guardians of power and entitlement.

Add to the latter the fact that the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* share power with two right-wing parties with questionable track records on migration and cultural diversity and a clearer picture evolves why the same narrative, migrants are a threat, is continuously told in Finland.

If we are sincere as a society about seeking proactive solutions on how to promote cultural diversity and our Nordic values, the first step would be to recognize and acknowledge our own issues with prejudice.

The Finnish name of the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English names adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We, therefore, prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings.