Young girl forced to steal handbags

A 32-year-old man has been arrested in Bulgaria and handed over to judicial authorities in Sweden where he is suspected of human trafficking crimes involving the exploitation of an 11-year-old girl.

An international arrest warrant was issued after the man was believed to have forced the girl to steal wallets and handbags at a series of locations across Sweden.

The suspect is thought to have specifically chosen the girl because of her young age as she could not face criminal charges if caught stealing. The man is alleged to have driven her to different grocery stores on at least nine occasions and persuaded her to steal handbags from the shopping trolleys of elderly women.

The man had received permission from the girl’s parents to take her from Bulgaria to Sweden, the prosecutor said.

Swedish authorities put out a warrant for the man’s arrest in March 2009. He is suspected of human trafficking and aggravated theft, with an alternative charge of instigating aggravated theft.

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