Swedish Platform Civil Society against Human Trafficking
The Platform was formed in connection to the GRETA evaluation of Sweden 2013, when the coordinator Ninna Mörner took and invited a broad range of representatives form the civil society, encouraged also by our National Coordinator. The Platform is today a human rights based non-profit organization focusing on combatting human trafficking and restoring the dignity of victims of trafficking and further to work to strengthen human rights for victims. Our members are experts and NGOs with a human rights base, but with varying target groups and agendas. Together we can offer the whole chain of assistance; identification, first aid, medical care, clothes, support, legal advice, trauma treatment, long term assistance, safe return and integration.
Civil society encounters and helps victims that do not file a report to the police as well as those who have (victims that file a report with the police are given support as such from society, those who do not are not given the official status of victims in Sweden). We collect data on all first contacts made with civil society, which enables us to see trends and differentiate needs and rights for different groups. We always ask if the victim has children and where the children are. We have found that many victims have children, some with them, and that many children have experienced violence and are deeply traumatized. Another conclusion from the data is that female victims from third countries with children left in their home-countries don’t enter legal process because of threats against their children. Another is that female victims exposed to sexual exploitation that have their only contact with civil society have often experienced severe violence and control early in their childhood. Forced marriage, honor based violence and shame placed on them from their families have often led to human trafficking. And yet another conclusion is that women exposed to violence and human trafficking are highly vulnerable to be exposed again and again, as there is a lack of long-term protection although once identified.
The Platform cooperates with authorities and strives to facilitate and initiate the implementation of the Council of Europe convention on action against trafficking in human beings and other international documents ratified by Sweden. For instance we took part in the work of the National Coordinator to develop a NRM (National Referral Mechanism), a practical guide for professionals that may encounter victims that describes who should do what and when.
To lower the threshold for help and cover costs for supporting victims outside the legal process the Platform runs a National Support Programme (today financed by the Swedish government) that can finance certified service providers included in the platform, when society doesn’t do it. They in their turn can offer the help that the victims need and, according to international documents, have the right to obtain. We grant 30 days of reflection before filing a report with the police (de facto reflection period) , 90 days support outside the legal process (that can be granted more then once) and for closure 45 days of integration. Children of the victims are always included in all assistance.
The Platform act as a voice for the civil society and the victims we meet and help. We always ask about the children to the victims. Security and protection of the whole family is crucial. Many children to victims need trauma treatment. Many asylums seekers have been exposed for human trafficking on route, especially women and children. Many risk being exploited in Sweden, at the refugee centers or at even a greater risk if denied permit and thus staying as undocumented. The Platform wishes to see human trafficking as a ground for asylum 2020!
The Platform represent the civil society on human trafficking matters and reports on emerging trends and respond to measures taken to the Swedish National Rapporteur and to the TIP-report on global level to the US Government and also to the EU Commission and the monitoring unit called GRETA on the implementation of the EU directive and the European council convention. The Platform is member of the European Platform Civil Society against Human Trafficking, meeting twice a year. The Platform cooperates with the Council of Baltic Sea States and participate in projects run by their Task Force.
Cooperation is the key to make achievements. In Sweden we may do that, from our different roles and functions, step by step – we have a solid ground to build on together.
The Platform performs the following tasks:
- Coordinates the assistance to VoT, and gather data on the civil society’s contacts with VoT.
- Runs a national support program that grant accredited service providers that live up to set up minimum standards funding for support to victims that give them access to rights the system otherwise could not provide (mainly entry to the NRM)
- Monitors and reports on how international directives and conventions are implemented in Sweden, as well as the outcomes of measures taken and trends encountered.
- Encourage and facilitates exchange of information and knowledge among the members in the Platform, but also to and with authorities and other actors.
- Take part in educational and capacity-building initiatives at workshops, seminars and conferences, as well regional and national as international.
- Works to strengthen the entitled rights of VoT. The Platforms members make joint statements and have a dialogue with stakeholders and decisions makers to improve the situation for VoT. We have dialogue as our main lobbying tool, respecting each parts function, role and mandate – although we always promote a Victim first-principal.
We arrange platform meetings on a monthly basis on topics related to our focus questions; children (directly or indirectly exposed to THB or at risk) , identification (trying to reach more groups and to make the large group that we know of but never reports to the police visible) and implication of a unconditionally reflection period in Sweden and the vulnerability for VoT from third countries.
We cooperate with authorities on a local, regional and national level. We collect and write NGO-reports to the Swedish National Rapporteur and to the EU-Commission’s Anti-Trafficking Office. We participate in regional meetings and projects arranged by the Council of the Baltic Sea States. The coordinator represent the Platform in all contacts, often together with one person from the coordinating core group. We have regular meetings with the National Rapporteur, the National coordinator and are often invited to round tables and when Sweden have international visitors interested in THB. We are members of the EU Civil Society Against Trafficking in Human beings, that meet twice a year in Brussels on the invitation from the EU-commission’s Anti-Trafficking Office.
Information in Swedish about the Swedish Platform Civil Society against Human Trafficking at: www.manniskohandel.se.