Sweden: Pregnant Children Found Begging On Street During Police Operation

Problem of refugee children. Child left home and sleeps on the street. Abandoned child.
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Swedish police took three minors, two of them pregnant, into custody after they were found begging on the streets during an international operation against human trafficking.

Three girls aged 12, 14, and 16 were taken into police care, with the 14- and 16-year-olds both found to be pregnant.

According to a report from the Swedish broadcaster SVT, the minors are from unspecified European Union member states. The 16-year-old had come to Sweden with her husband. The 14-year-old was in the country with her parents and was allegedly set to be married. The latter told authorities that her parents had arranged the marriage and her future husband’s parents had paid for the marriage to take place.

Detective Inspector Per Englund of the Swedish Police’s National Operation Department (NOA) said all three minors had been transferred to social services, but their case remains under investigation.

While separating the two pregnant children from their present and future husbands to place them into care may seem normal for northern Europe, it is an act not without controversy. In Denmark, the hardline pro-border control immigration minister Inger Støjberg ordered during the height of the Europe Migrant Crisis in 2016 that migrant child brides be housed separately from their adult husbands.

The minister came under massive attack from pro-mass migration activists over the order, including from an Imam in Denmark who argued that because having sex with young girls was part of the migrant’s culture, it was wrong to separate the couples. Eventually, opponents of Støjberg managed to impeach her over the order after claiming the order was against the migrant’s human rights and had been enacted contrary to Danish law. The trial is ongoing.

The custody of the Swedish trio comes as part of an international operation into human trafficking that saw 175 people arrested across Europe who are believed to have participated in the trafficking of people for forced labour, sexual exploitation, or other activities such as begging.

Begging can be a lucrative activity for some migrants. According to an SVT report from March, Romanians could earn three times as much begging on the streets of Sweden as they would doing an ordinary minimum wage job in their home country.

Ligia Englöf, who works in social services in the city of Jönköping, stated that she had met people who had quit their jobs in Romania to come to Sweden to beg on the street.

The anti-human trafficking operation comes five years after the European police agency Europol helped the French and Romanian governments bust a trafficking network that saw a profit of over a million dollars in 2016.

Eighteen people were arrested for allegedly forcing minors to beg on the streets of France, as well as commit pickpocketing in tourist areas and engage in money laundering.

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