Finnish researcher Niina Vuolajärvi cited financial difficulties as the foremost reason pushing refugees to the streets. According to her, migrants in Finland often have two alternatives, to seek employment in the shadow economy for a measly pay of several euros per hour or go into prostitution, which is paid much more generously.
Helsingin Sanomat's journalist went underground together with Iraqi "Kadar," who has lived in Finland for several years. By his own admission, he got involved in prostitution by accident. Only two months after his arrival in Finland, he was approached by a Finn who offered him 50 euros for a sexual intercourse. Kadar agreed, since this was equal to half his monthly allowance at the accommodation center. Apart from replenishing Kadar's wallet, however, this event also gave him gonorrhea.
Needless to say, asylum seekers involved in prostitution are trying to hide their occupation, because their culture strongly condemns such interaction. Another reason is the rebuke of fellow tenants at refugee accommodations.
Since 2015, 38,000 asylum seekers have applied to the Finnish authorities, and about 19,000 still reside in refugee accommodations anticipating a decision. About 11,000 have already been denied residence permits. According to an earlier estimate by Interior Minister Paula Risikko, hundreds of them will remain in the country illegally. So far, the Finnish authorities have lost track of about 4,000 asylum seekers, many of which are believed to have traveled to another country.
The City of Helsinki is providing immigrants whose residence applications have been rejected with primary assistance in the form of food vouchers. Under some circumstances, undocumented immigrants may even be given social assistance in the form of cash payments.
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