Nedan mitt anförande vid anti trafficking-seminariet jag stod värd för i samband med EU-dagen mot människohandel (18/10/2016).
Dear colleges, distinguished speakers, dear friends
Welcome and thank you all for coming to this important seminar.
Today, the 18th of October, marks the European Union’s international Anti Trafficking Day.
According to the European Commission, the estimated number of persons suffering from human trafficking, amounts to several hundred thousand – every year.
Consequently, this is an important day.
It is a day when we remember the victims of this brutal trade in human beings, the slavery of our time.
Recently I made a field visit to the anti-trafficking team at the Stockholm police department.
What I saw was professional police work – capable, efficient and above all; with a clear focus on assisting the most vulnerable – young girls being used in the Swedish prostitution market.
At the same time, what I brought back from the visit was a bleak picture of the situation in Stockholm – and a bleak picture of Europe.
Behind our welfare systems, behind our well-polished facades and happy smiles – there is a darker reality.
Where human trafficking and prostitution have its grip on far too many individuals around Europe.
Trafficking and sexual exploitation, devalues the very foundation of human dignity – human beings are turned into commodities.
Depriving another person of their integrity and freedom is contrary to all what our societies stands for; human ethics, fundamental values and the rule of law.
What we are talking about is in fact one of the worst, one of the most brutal, violations of human rights – where the most weak and most vulnerable suffer the most.
When we look at the number of people, being caught up in this deception of darkness, we have to admit that too little is being done to combat trafficking.
If we believe that trade with other people is unacceptable – if we believe that fundamental values should guide us as policymakers and fellow humans, we have a moral obligation to take action.
What can and should be done is not an easy discussion.
At the same time, if there is a political will, there are effective tools to fight human trafficking.
The case study of our seminar will be my home country Sweden, which has a unique experience in combatting trafficking for sexual purposes – thanks to the Swedish Sex Purchase Act from 1999.
As a result of the significant results in Sweden, this kind of legislation have been implemented in other Nordic countries, but also in Northern Ireland and France.
The Swedish Sex Purchase Act, or the Nordic model on prostitution, which probably is the proper term, is the subject of our seminar.