Helsingen Hovioikeus 2009:3420

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The issue here was whether defendants Lepp and Taning were guilty of trafficking in persons. Lepp and Taning had jointly solicited A to come with them from Tallinn to Helsinki, where they had lodged her and, profiting from her insecure position and dependence, had subjected her to sexual abuse by prostitution for the purpose of gaining financial profit for themselves. The District Court of Helsinki found that the activities of the defendants did not amount to human trafficking under the Finnish Criminal Code (39/1889, as amended). The Court of Appeal reversed. To establish the crime of trafficking in human beings under Chapter 25, Section 3 of the Criminal Court, the State must establish the means, methods, and purpose of trafficking. The Court of Appeal concluded that it was undisputed that the purpose of the defendants was to subject A to sexual abuse and prostitution (for payment) in Finland. In terms of methods, the Court of Appeal concluded, inter alia, that Lepp and Taning had solicited, by giving a phone call to A, A to activities in purposes of earning money through prostitution. Finally, the Court of Appeal concluded that A's childhood experiences and personal characteristics made her vulnerable to activities that are harmful to her. Considering A's lack of foreign language skills, the fact that she had got into debt in Estonia, lack of means due to her mental characteristics, the Court found that she had no other choice than to continue prostitution under these circumstances. Therefore, she had been defenseless when she was acting as a prostitute, and she was dependant on Lepp and Taning, within the meaning of Chapter 25, Section 3 of the Criminal Code. Lepp and Taning were sentences to 1,5 years in prison for human trafficking and to pay damages of 4,000 Euros to A.




Court of Appeal of Helsinki

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