Josephine* and her five year old daughter was tricked into traveling from Nigeria to Italy, hoping to escape threats from both her husband and the police because of a lesbian relationship that Josephine had. Once they arrived in Italy they found that they had ended up in the hands of traffickers. These traffickers tried to force Josephine into prostitution, but when she refused to sell her body, she and her daughter were locked in a room. One day several men raped and abused Josephine for several hours, an abuse that her daughter had to witness at gunpoint. Since traffickers were discussing how they could get rid of her daughter, they sought help from another prostitute woman to escape from Italy to Sweden where they eventually sought asylum. Despite threats to both of them and their fragile psychological state, the Migration Board decided to reject their applications for residence permits and transfer them to Italy, which under the Dublin regulation, is the first country of asylum.
Human rights lawyers came to the assistance of Josephine and her daughter in the appeal of the decision. Swedish courts rejected / denied the appeal. A so-called Rule 39 notification was therefore made to the European Court to stop the transfer to Italy. Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers question why Sweden has not obtained individual guarantees for Josephine and her daughter’s safety from the Italian authorities. Josephine and her daughter’s health condition and the threats that exist in Italy means that the two are at risk of being subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment if transferred to Italy.
Following a complaint by Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers the European Court decided to suspend the deportation and requested that the Swedish government would respond concerning any guarantees obtained from Italy. The individual guarantees should assure Josephine and her daughter the support of the Italian government in a way that responds to their needs. Since Sweden only stated that general guarantees from Italy had been given by Italy, the stay of the deportation has been extended.
The case is still pending and the Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers continue to work for Josephine and her daughter’s right to stay in Sweden.
*Name has been changed.
Read articles about Josephine’s case here: