The general objective of the project is to increase the knowledge of trafficking for forced labour in Estonia, Finland and Poland, and to strengthen related cooperation and exchange of information within and between these countries. The project partners are the University of Tartu in Estonia and the Human trafficking studies centre within University of Warsaw in Poland. The FLEX project aims at understanding the kind of exploitative situations of labour that exist in the three countries; whether there are forced labour situations and whether these situations include elements of trafficking; which economic sectors are especially affected; what is being done to prevent such exploitation, and; whether relevant actors and authorities recognise victims of trafficking for forced labour and whether there are sufficient mechanisms to assist the victims. The project uses a qualitative and quantitative approach to collect information on trafficking for forced labour, e.g. through thematic interviews, registry data, police, prosecution and court materials, and media sources. In consultation with relevant national and international actors the project creates a joint methodology for data collection at the local level. In each of the countries the project will build a network with relevant national actors to provide information and facilitate access to various data sources. The national meetings will also form the basis for cooperation and exchange of information nationally. An international network of contacts will also be built, resulting in one international working level expert meeting that will exchange information and good practices on collecting information and combating trafficking for forced labour.
The project will produce three national reports on trafficking for forced labour (one in each country) in local language to ensure that the information is accessible to all relevant national actors (e.g. labour inspectors). HEUNI also drafts a joint report in English, which incorporates the three country reports and an analytical summary on the characteristics of forced labour within the Baltic Sea Region. In addition, the project provides concrete tools (e.g. methodology) for national actors, such as the National Rapporteur or equivalent, to enhance their efforts to collect information on trafficking for forced labour.