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HEUNI trained professionals of City of Espoo on identifying labour exploitation and human trafficking

9.11.2022 | News item

The trainings in June and October addressed the risks, prevention and identification of exploitation and human trafficking. The target groups for the trainings were personnel who conduct audits and site visits among cleaning services, as well as personnel procuring maintenance and construction service. Both cleaning and construction sector are well-known risk sectors for labor exploitation and human trafficking, and the trainings covered specific characteristics and challenges of these sectors.

Two businessmen discussing CSR

The first training focused on audit and site visits of cleaning services procurement, how possible misconduct could be better identified, and how to react to any suspicions. The regular audits are a great way to put into practice Espoo’s objective to tackle grey economy and ensure equal treatment of everyone.

The second training was held for procurement personnel from maintenance and construction, who for example make orders and conduct audits. This training covered the risks of exploitation in construction sector, as well as clients and developers’ best practices on mitigating and preventing the risks.
“The trainings were very beneficial, we got tools to identify exploitation and support materials to improve our own operations. Our goal is to be one step ahead of this and prevent the possibilities for exploitation for example by improving the content of our audits”, Espoo’s Premises department’s service production manager Taneli Kalliokoski describes.

Active and open dialogue as a basis for next steps

Challenges and improvement suggestions were discussed widely in both trainings. The participants had been able to share their wishes for the training, as well as challenges they had experienced and any questions anonymously. “It’s great to notice how we can also learn from the challenges these professionals have experienced in audits and when encountering the workers”, HEUNI’s other trainer, senior program officer Anniina Jokinen tells. “Unfortunately, the risk of labour exploitation applies to many sectors, such as agriculture and catering in addition to cleaning and construction sectors. Combatting exploitation and human trafficking requires proactive action from companies, labour market organizations, and public procurements units”, Jokinen continues. City of Espoo has an objective to tackle grey economy and improve fair treatment of workers. “In the Espoo story, fairness and responsibility are the most important values alongside being resident and customer oriented. We will continue to take into consideration that effective prevention of labour exploitation and trafficking in all operations of the Premises department is one of our targets” the managing director of Espoo’s Premises department, Maija Lehtinen states. City of Espoo was one of the procurement units whose representatives participated in the development of Labour Exploitation and public procurement -guide that was created in the Hankinta-Suomi strategy. The comprehensive guide addresses labour exploitation as a phenomenon, the risks and how public procurement units can prevent it in their procurement.

More information: Saara Haapasaari, Sustainability specialist HEUNI, +358 50 4767855, [email protected]

HEUNI organizes tailored trainings for public procurement units as well as for businesses on preventing and identifying labour exploitation and human trafficking. HEUNI has also published guides and tools for businesses and public procurement units, which are all freely available on our website. 
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