We must protect trafficking victims in Gothenburg

These women are being sent back to their home countries after they have testified against their traffickers. Back to poverty where same, if not worse, conditions are waiting for them. These are the conditions that put them in this position in the first place and resulted in them being sent to Western Europe where they were sent between the countries, pimps and paying men. It continued until they ended up in Gothenburg, where after some time they became “free” with help from the Swedish Polis. They were given a chance to tell their stories to initially end up… where it all started.

They have experienced violence, abuse and degrading treatments. They went through a trial full of humiliation and self-disclosure. And still, they are being put on a plane back to the Romanian countryside where their children are waiting for them to provide them with food, clothes and love. It raises the question, how does our legal and migration systems work? A mother that have been selling her body to rich Swedish men, regardless if that was done voluntarily or not, while lacking other options. A mother that sent her children that small amount of money that she received.

When this mother later returns home and finds herself in the same position as before, what are the chances that she once again will take the same path in order to make money to support her children? Will she again receive less money that she is entitled to and be forced to stay longer than originally agreed?

Will these women even survive the day they step on the Romanian soil? Trafficking is a criminal and organised activity and traffickers that are being prosecuted in Gothenburg’s court are not likely to work alone. Their network is generally large and it puts the women in a dangerous position after their testimony.

The National Organisation that offers shelter for girls and women demands that women that are brave and strong enough to testify should be offered support, help and accommodation in Sweden as soon as the trial ends. Regardless of the outcome. 

“These women are victims and that is the status that should be given them in trials against both the men which bought sex from them and those who sold them. They should be offered a legal counsel and have a right to seek compensation. To be granted permanent residence only during the trial in order for the prosecutor to use them as witnesses, is simply not okay!” writes Angela Beausang.

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