Press release 24 May 2017

Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers
24 May, 2017 – PRESS RELEASE
Phone: +46 70 725 19 17 / Email: info@shrl.eu


Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers win case concerning victims of human trafficking

Since 2016, the Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers have represented the human trafficking victim Madeleine* and her three-year-old son in their asylum process. In May of 2018 they finally won and were granted permanent residence permits in Sweden.

During an oral hearing in the Migration Court in Gothenburg the Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers claimed that an expulsion would violate the right to privacy and family life, according to Article 8 of the European Convention and, moreover, to the provisions of the Child Convention and the principle of the best interests of the child. The Migration Court referred in its decision to the right to privacy and family life as well as the best interests of the child together with the fact that Madeleine was found to be a victim of trafficking in human beings and that she therefore needed the extra support efforts she currently has in Sweden. Due to a number of circumstances, including the exceptional circumstances of the case and because of the child’s psychosocial development, as well as the fact that the child’s father lives in Sweden, the Migration Court considered that Madeleine and her son should be granted permanent residence in Sweden.

It is very satisfying that the Migration Court has decided to grant permanent residence permits to our clients and that the Court takes special consideration to the best interests of the child and the right to privacy and family life and the exceptional circumstances that apply to human trafficking victims, ​​said Ruth Nordström Senior Legal Counsel at the Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers.

Human trafficking victims are particularly vulnerable, and when significant support and relief efforts have been given in Sweden with good results, it is no more than reasonable that the family is allowed to stay in Sweden and not be forced to move to another EU country where all good results are likely to be destroyed because of a lack support, language skills, connection or network in general, says Rebecca Ahlstrand, lawyer at the Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers.

The case shows that our intense work to help and support victims of trafficking can have major and positive consequences in the lives and future of individual people. We continue to work for new practices to be established, where the Migration Board and the Migration Courts correctly apply the conventions that Sweden has undersigned on the area of human trafficking and human rights, said Ruth Nordström, Chief Legal Attorney at the Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers.

The Migration Board has in no way chosen to take account of our clients’ specific vulnerabilities as victims of trafficking in human beings or that the Civil Society Platform against Trafficking Sweden identified them as victims of trafficking and has given them significant support efforts. We hope and believe that the current case will contribute to raising awareness at the Swedish Migration Board about the exceptional circumstances that exist in cases concerning victims of human trafficking, said Rebecca Ahlstrand, lawyer at the Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers.

The case concerns the orphan Madeleine, who as a child was forced to prostitution in her native country in West Africa, where she was subjected to trafficking in human beings. She eventually managed to flee and ended up in Sweden where she applied for asylum. Her application was rejected, even after several appeals. During her stay in Sweden she gave birth to her son whose father is a European citizen. After a number of years, a new process began in Sweden, and the Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers became legal counsels.

The Migration Court in Gothenburg decided after an oral hearing in the case, to grant Madeleine and her son a permanent residence permit because of what was considered to be “extremely distressing circumstances”. The son is born in Sweden and his father is an EEA citizen. During the judicial process, Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers assisted the son in establishing paternity, and then also his legitimate EU citizenship, which was of major importance in the case. The Migration Court found that in order for the boy to enjoy his rights as a citizen of the EU, his mother Madeleine can not be expelled to her native country of Guinea, Africa, as she is his primary guardian.

The Migration Board appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, but on May 8, the Migration Supreme Court decided not to grant a probation permit in the case, which means that the decision of the Migration Court is now settled.

* Madeleine is a fictive name.

For more information contactRuth Nordström, chairman SHRL
Email: info@shrl.eu or ruth.nordstrom@shrl.eu
Phone: +46 70-725 19 17