New Swedish ambassador to combat trafficking in human beings

The Government has decided to create a new position for an ambassador to combat trafficking in human beings. This decision will strengthen Sweden’s international role as a leading human rights defender. Per-Anders Sunesson, currently head of department at the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, will assume this new position on 16 May.

Through contact with other governments, the Swedish ambassador will be a driving force in efforts to combat trafficking in human beings, strengthen the EU's work and identify future partners.

"Sweden is a strong voice on the international stage for gender equality and human rights. Women and men must have the same power to shape society and their own lives. Creating a new position for an ambassador to combat human trafficking is a step in this direction," says Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström.

The ambassador will contribute to the achievement of Global Goal 16, target 2: "End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children".

"Through the ambassador's work, Sweden will help to ensure that the vulnerable situation of girls and women will be given particular attention in international efforts to combat human trafficking. The ambassador will also have the important task of ensuring that our knowledge about human trafficking is continually updated so that the vulnerable receive the protection and support they need from the Swedish authorities," says Åsa Regnér, Minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality.

Sunesson has coordinated action against human trafficking

The new Ambassador, Per-Anders Sunesson, has a legal background and in recent years has held various positions at the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, including head of social services, disability issues and child rights. Sunesson has also previously worked at the Ministry of Justice, where his area was the standing of victims in criminal proceedings, and at the National Board of Health and Welfare, where he was responsible for supervision of health and medical care, and social services.

Per-Anders Sunesson has also been the Government Offices coordinator for issues related to vulnerable EU citizens and human trafficking. Until today he has led the work on developing the Government's new action plan to combat human trafficking. Sunesson has extensive experience of collaboration with a wide range of parties and organisations.

Human trafficking affects millions of people every year

Trafficking in human beings is one of the most serious forms of organised crime and a modern form of slavery. It is estimated that more than two million people are trafficked into slavery each year. Almost four fifths of the victims – mostly women and underage girls – are sold into the sex industry. Between 2012 and 2015, several hundred unaccompanied children who came to Sweden may have been victims of trafficking, according to data from the Stockholm County Administrative Board, which is responsible for coordinating national efforts.

Contact

Louise Wileen Bjarke
Press Secretary to Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström
Phone (switchboard) +46 (0)8-405 10 00
Joanna Abrahamsson
Press Secretary to Minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality Åsa Regnér
Phone +46 8 405 42 02
Mobile +46 72 543 84 89
email to Joanna Abrahamsson