The boy told police in the town of Jönköping that a man had driven him from Bulgaria to Sweden. The boy said he only knew the first name of the man, who also reportedly took the boy’s passport.
A local resident who saw the boy begging outside a supermarket called the police on Saturday.
“I have never seen or heard of such young beggars before,” Jönköping police spokesman Lasse Johansson told news agency TT, adding that the details of the boy’s journey to Sweden are not clear.
While questioned by police and social authorities, they boy said that he was born in 1982, but police believe he is definitely under 18 and probably as young as 12.
The boy also said, via an interpreter, that the man who drove him to the place where the witness spotted him had ordered him to beg outside the supermarket and said he would be picked up in the afternoon.
“We had people on the location to check if this person would show up, but he never did,” Johansson said.
Police are treating the case as human trafficking of a minor for the purpose of begging.