Human trafficking ring exposed in Sweden
06 Dec 2017, 01:31 ( 9 days ago)
Swedish police on Tuesday arrested 10 people on suspicion of forcing people to travel from Bulgaria to beg in Sweden.
The arrests took place during a series of house raids in southern Sweden and the suspects are thought to have coerced people into begging on the streets of several Swedish towns, Swedish Television reported on Tuesday.
Six of the 10 arrested individuals have been detained and another three were arrested in absentia, two of them in Bulgaria, Swedish Television reported.
Millions of krona are thought to have been taken abroad. "This affects the most vulnerable people in society, people who do not have a social platform or any faith in the Swedish legal system," said Mattias Sigfridsson, head of the regional police unit in southern Sweden tasked with combatting severe international crime.
Sigfridsson said the Bulgarians who were trafficked to Sweden to beg lack the language skills and the financial means to get by on their own. "Organized criminals abuse their situation for their own winnings," he said.
The police have also taken around 20 male and female victims into care. They are between 20 and 40 years old and, according to Sigfridsson, several more have been part of the investigation into the trafficking ring, including people under the age of 18.
"All plaintiffs are now in protected residences together with staff members," said Lisa Green, the regional council's coordinator against human trafficking. The police exposed the trafficking ring after a man filed a report, claiming that he had been forced to beg and that he was assaulted when he refused to do so.