Photo: Juuso Jonninen

The IHMEMALLI project produced a current state description of the pre-trial investigation of human trafficking offenses in Finland and created a process description that supports nationwide consistency in handling such cases. The recently published report describes the current state of human trafficking and its investigation, and examines the pre-trial investigation of human trafficking offenses from various perspectives. Additionally, the project compiled a handbook for the pre-trial investigation of human trafficking offenses in collaboration with key authorities and the third sector.

During the spring of 2023, the Timeout Foundation facilitated a total of 9 group discussions remotely. Five of these were facilitated for the police administration, held in five different police departments. Police officers who had investigated human trafficking crimes from various police departments were invited to the police administration group discussions. In addition, two discussions were held for representatives of the third sector, and two discussions were held for authorities working in different areas of monitoring, combating, and investigating human trafficking.

The themes selected for the group discussions were the identification of human trafficking crimes, best practices and key challenges related to pre-trial investigation and the activities of the different authorities, the position of the victim during the pre-trial investigation, as well as cooperation. The themes were specifically refined for each target group’s discussion and adapted to suit the Timeout method.

The discussions allowed us to kill two birds with one stone. We supported dialogue and development between the administration and the actors, but also collected empirical research material for the research project from the recordings of the discussions”, Iina Sahramäki (diablogs)

The involvement of authorities and organizations was central to the project: more than 120 participants from dozens of organizations and various sectors took part in the project’s Timeout discussions, interviews, and other events. The Timeout discussions provided stakeholders with an opportunity to network, engage in dialogue, and share their views on human trafficking as a phenomenon, anti-trafficking efforts, and pre-trial investigations.

The handbook for the pre-trial investigation of human trafficking crimes serves as a tool for raising awareness about the various possibilities for extensive cooperation. Strengthening the cooperation between the police and organizations assisting victims on a national level helps ensure the equal realization of victims’ rights.

A key area for development is to strengthen the victims’ sense of participation in the human trafficking process. It is important that the victim feels genuinely heard and acknowledged. This enhances the victim’s sense of justice in the process, regardless of the outcome,” said Willman-Koistinen (Translated from a news article published by Polamk)

The project on modeling the pre-trial investigation of human trafficking crimes (Ihmemalli) conducted at the Police University College lasted from October 2022 to December 2023 and was funded by the Action plan for tackling the grey economy and economic crime. The project involved the European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control (HEUNI) and the Eastern Finland Police Department.


The Timeout method has also been utilized in other Police University College projects. Read more in our diablog: The Timeout Method as Part of Different Projects at the Police University College


What is the Timeout Foundation?

The purpose of the Timeout Foundation is to work together with other parties interested in dialogue to make the conversation culture in Finland more constructive, reduce societal division, and increase people’s participation in society.

The vision of the Timeout Foundation is that societal discussion is constructive, respectful, and broadly participated in by members of society. People and organizations have both the desire and the skills to engage in constructive dialogue on important topics.


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