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TRAFFICKING

Teen girl held as sex-slave for a year: report

Swedish police have freed a 14-year-old girl who was allegedly trafficked to Sweden from Belgrade and held as a sex-slave for a year by a mentally-deranged man, media reports said Wednesday.

Police refused to comment on the reports, except to confirm that there is a case under investigation.

The Daily Expressen described the girl’s captor as a 25-year-old mentally handicapped man.

His family believed he would get better if he had a wife, so they bought the girl for him from her father in the Serbian capital, paying €1,000 ($1,360), the paper said.

Her ordeal began in September 2010.

“The girl was forced to get engaged in line with Roma customs with the 25-year-old, and was taken to the family’s apartment … where she was locked up,” Expressen reported.

The girl, whose name was not disclosed, has told police she was subjected daily to threats, physical abuse and rape during her captivity in Sweden’s second city Gothenburg, the paper said.

A Gothenburg court has detained four people in the case on suspicion of human trafficking, including the girl’s captor and her father, Swedish news agency TT said.

Her captor and a 40-year-old woman are also suspected of rape.

Expressen said the girl became pregnant and suffered a miscarriage at one point during her ordeal.

“She is very, very happy to be free of this hell. In videotaped police interrogations she has talked extensively about what she has gone through,” an unidentified source told Expressen.

It was not immediately known how the case came to the police’s attention.

Expressen said police freed the girl in late October or early November in a raid on the apartment.

According to TT, the case is being handled by prosecutors in the international prosecution unit.

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ROMA

Sweden fails to cut number of ‘vulnerable EU migrants’

The number of homeless beggars from Romania and Bulgaria living in Sweden is as high as it was three years ago, according to the new government figures.

Sweden fails to cut number of 'vulnerable EU migrants'
A man begs with a sign asking for work. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT
“There are around 4,500 to 5,000 vulnerable EU citizens currently in Sweden,” Claes Ling-Vannerus, Sweden's national coordinator on the issue, told Swedish state broadcaster SVT.
 
This is the same number estimated in a report  three years ago from Martin Valfridsson, who was appointed by the Swedish government to investigate the issue and what to do about it. 
 
Sweden appointed the national coordinator to work with the governments of Romania and Bulgaria on providing aid to ethnic Roma communities to reduce the attraction of travelling to other European countries to beg. 
 
Municipalities across Sweden and volunteer organisation have offered shelter and food to those in need. 
 
Others have taken a tougher approach, with police this year starting to enforce a begging ban in Vellinge, near Malmö, the first municipality in Sweden to bring in such a ban.
 
 
Ling-Vannerus said that Sweden had recently been seeing growing numbers of poor people from Romania and Bulgaria being put to work “in substandard conditions” as cleaners or builders, or in car garages. 
 
“My conclusion is that it is very attractive to come to Sweden with the life we live here and with free movement of people, it's hard to stop that.” 
 
Sweden appointed the national coordinator to work with the governments of Romania and Bulgaria on providing aid to poor ethnic Roma communities in their countries to reduce the attraction of travelling to other European countries to beg. 
 
Municipalities across Sweden and volunteer organisation have offered shelter and food to the help those who travel to Sweden. 
 
This year police began enforcing a begging ban in Vellinge, near Malmö, the first municipality in Sweden to bring in such a measure. 
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