Sushi pair charged with smuggling Chinese children

A Chinese couple, a 44 year old man and a 31 year old woman, have been indicted at Stockholm district court on charges of human trafficking.

The suspects, who run a Stockholm sushi restaurant, are suspected of helping 46 Chinese children to illegally enter and pass through Sweden. The charges relate to incidents from February to November 2005.

According to the prosecutor, the couple collaborated with other people outside of Sweden and the motive behind the trafficking was profit.

The planning behind the operation took place not only in Sweden but also in China and France.

The couple, who were arrested in November, received and harboured the children while they awaited transport out of Sweden. They also arranged passports and paid for flights from Sweden to France and Italy.

The prosecution says that the man instructed children how to behave during their trips to and from Sweden.

Police and prosecutors classified the crime as serious, since it was an organised operation over a long period of time. The prosecution described how a large number of vulnerable young people were professionally smuggled into Sweden.

The children, who are aged 12-15, all gave stereotypical and unspontaneous reasons for why they left their homeland. The most common response was that their parents were dead and the relatives could no longer take care of them.

They all had similar clothes and were without travel documents. The children had around 10,000 kronor each and were given mobile telephones. After a short time at a refugee centre several of the children disappeared, probably following instructions given to them by mobile phone.

Police are no closer to finding out where they are, but they are thought to have been forced into work.

The couple have been prosecuted previously for fraud, after they were discovered to have tampered with their restaurant’s cash till.

TT/The Local