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GRIM ALLEGATIONS HAVE SURFACED this week, detailing systemic and sustained sexual abuse of teenage asylum seekers in a reception centre in Oravais in Western Finland. 

According to reports from the local Vasabladet newspaper, former employees of the centre have publicly alleged that female supervisors have been involved in sexual relations with boys aged between 16 and 17 years old for an extended period of time. The identities of those involved remain private. 

The Ruthsgården Reception Centre, where the alleged activities took place, describes itself as “a group home” for unaccompanied asylum seekers to “learn about Finnish society” and enjoy a “safe, meaningful, and educational” environment.

The centre is located in a rural region of Ostrobothnia which has made headlines for its accommodation of relatively high numbers of refugees and asylum seekers. Of the 2000 people who reside in the area, it is estimated that 10% of these are seeking asylum. 

The allegations of sexual misconduct were made by multiple former employees of Ruthsgården, who were apparently dismissed as part of a cost-cutting exercise earlier this year. In their correspondence with Vasabladet, they claim that “the bosses knew” about the extent of the activity and have intentionally failed to protect the victims. 

They have claimed that both the director and deputy director of the centre have been fully aware of the allegations for some time but have refused to take any measures against the accused. One of the employees also stated that “this is something that cannot be swept under the rug” and that it should be investigated immediately. 

The local police department for Oravais claims that they have not yet received an official report regarding the alleged crimes and that no charges have been brought forward against any individual. 

This isn’t the first time that the Oravais reception centre has been involved in scandal. National attention was first drawn to Ruthsgården back in 2005, following the sudden disappearance of 15 asylum seekers of Chinese descent, most of whom have never been found, although it is assumed they were trafficked to the UK. 

Whether these current allegations will be investigated further remains to be seen. 

Adam Oliver Smith - HT

Image: Vasabladet report