Human trafficking is a violation of human rights and a violation of human dignity and integrity. The UN agency UNICEF estimates that as many as 1.2 million children are trafficked every year. According to the European Commission, traveling and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are considered to be at a great risk of being exposed to trafficking and exploitation in Sweden. Between 2013–2016, there were indications that more than 1,500 unaccompanied children had disappeared in Sweden and that most were probably children from countries of origin such as Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq. According to the 2018 Gender Equality Agency’s report on children in human trafficking, it was reveled that 57 of 262 reported human trafficking cases were children and that 18 were accompanying children to asylum-seeking adults. According to the European Commission, however, it is likely that human trafficking in children in Sweden is greater than the statistics show because many potential victims do not come to the attention of the authorities at all. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN agency UNODC has drawn attention to the increased number of victims of human trafficking and the fact that children are increasingly affected.
This report will focus on how legal protection under international conventions, especially the Council of Europe Convention, works in practice in Sweden. Is the Council of Europe Convention followed or does Sweden violate international obligations? In the introductory chapter, a Swedish child rights perspective on child trafficking is presented by the child rights expert, Doctorate (SJD) Harvard Law School and Professor of Law at Leeds Law School, Maria Grahn Farley. The following chapter presents the results of in-depth interviews with representatives of authorities, civil society, sheltered housing and other actors working against human trafficking. This qualitative survey provides an insight into how well Sweden maintains the Council of Europe Convention against human trafficking, with a special focus on children’s rights.
Download full report here.The full report in Swedish is available here.