Six Bulgarian nationals have been convicted by Swedish courts for smuggling in migrants and forcing them to beg on the streets in what has become the country’s biggest ever human-trafficking case.
The six Bulgarian nationals were given sentences between one and a half years to five and a half years in prison for their roles in the human smuggling ring which saw at least twenty victims forced to beg on the streets of various cities across the country, among them the city of Växjö where they were charged, broadcaster Sveriges Radio reports.
In total, seven Bulgarian nationals and one Swedish national were charged in the case.
According to local newspaper Barometern, the Bulgarian nationals were all family members with the operation being headed by a man in his 60s who with his three sons and two grandsons managed to send around two million euros from Sweden to Bulgaria over a two year period.
Global Human Trafficking Now a $32 Billion Industry https://t.co/YYOTAkXGW5
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Some of the beggars brought to Sweden are said to have been subject to violence, with a pregnant woman who was forced to beg on the street suffering a miscarriage due to the violence perpetrated against her.
The case is just the latest human-trafficking case in Western Europe, with authorities in neighbouring Finland saying that 2018 has seen a surge in incidents.
While many cases of human-trafficking involve sex trafficking, as is the case with Nigerian women in Italy, others are often brought to Europe as virtual slave labour.
A case in France made headlines earlier this year after a hair salon owner was convicted of trafficking women and forcing them to work for him for as little as one and a half euros an hour while working ten hour days, six days a week.