Sweden arrests Chinese ‘people smugglers’

Two Chinese nationals suspected of trafficking teenagers have been arrested in Sweden. The pair are believed by police to have arranged for children to be smuggled to Europe and possibly North America.

“It is a case of a man and a woman of Chinese nationality, aged about 40 and living in Sweden,” Bo Larsson of the border police said.

Police believe that they played a major role in a network which trafficked young Chinese aged between 13 and 18.

In the last year 103 young Chinese have arrived at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport and asked for political asylum. Usually trace of them is then lost.

“Most are thereafter considered to have disappeared and are sought at the international level,” Larsson said, while others are sent home.

“No one knows where they are,” Larsson, said, but “one theory is that are used as cheap labour in Europe, and exploited in European factories.”

Another possibility is that they are sent to the United States or Canada where the Chinese communities are bigger than they are in Europe.

Larsson said there could be more arrests.

“Several people are involved given that the children are moved from country to country.”

Sweden’s neighbours are also affected: some 30 young Chinese have turned up in Denmark, about 10 in Norway and an unspecified number in Finland and Iceland, police said.

Police forces are working closely together and want their cooperation to be extended Europe-wide, Larsson said.

“We have been told that some of the children leave Sweden for Denmark and from there they go to Germany, France and the Netherlands, for example.”