Sweden appoints ambassador against human trafficking
The Swedish government announced today that it will appoint an ambassador to work against human trafficking.
The Minister for Gender Equality Åsa Regnér and the Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström wrote in the newspaper Dagens Nyheter that the ambassador is intended to strengthen Sweden's international profile as a defender of human rights.
“Human trafficking is a phenomenon that’s increasing across the world, not least the trafficking of women and girls. We also know that trafficking increases in connection with armed conflicts and large migration streams," Regnér told Swedish Radio News. She added that Sweden now wants to show its commitment when it comes to carrying out decisions that have been made to counteract human trafficking.
Per-Anders Sunesson, currently Unit Manager at the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, will assume the new role. He will work nationally within Sweden, but the aim is also to signal to the rest of the world that Sweden is stepping up its efforts against human trafficking. As ambassador, Sunesson will contribute to the dialogue between national authorities, international organisations and governments about issues concerning the prevention of human trafficking and prosecution of perpetrators.
Sweden's red-green government calls itself "the world's first feminist government," and Åsa Regnér said that when it comes to women's rights overall, progress is happening too slowly.
"That Sweden is now appointing this ambassador is about working broadly not only to fight crime, but also to stress the importance of women and girls," Regnér said.
Anders Pettersson, the Secretary-General of ECPAT Sweden, an organisation working to prevent sexual exploitation of children, pointed out that a similar function in Sweden existed about ten years ago, and welcomed the government's initiative.
"Sweden has received critique from the child rights committee of the United Nations for not doing enough on trafficking of human beings, so we feel that this is very much welcome," Pettersson said to Radio Sweden.