Conference on human trafficking brings experts together

15 April 2016

Human trafficking is a grave violation of human rights. Trafficking affects millions of individuals all over the world, including children. In mid-April, an international conference on trafficking was held at Uppsala University. Researchers and other invited guests discussed the current state of knowledge and ways of combating the human slave trade. The speakers included H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden.

The conference ‘Human Trafficking in the 21st Century’ drew researchers from various disciplines as well as important actors from several different organisations. Among others, Kajsa Wahlberg, Sweden’s national rapporteur on human trafficking, discussed the importance of identifying the victims of human trafficking. Kristiina Kangaspunta, UNODC Chief of the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons Unit, spoke of global trends and patterns in human trafficking.

The World Childhood Foundation was also represented at the conference. Honorary President H.M. Queen Silvia delivered an address, and deputy secretary-general Britta Holmberg gave a speech entitled Building resilience through holistic support to families at risk – prevention and community reintegration.

Representatives of the UNHCR, Council of the Baltic Sea States, and Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings also participated.

Researchers from several different Swedish and foreign universities spoke on the second day of the conference. Lauren McCarthy from the University of Massachusetts Amherst raised the issue of women as perpetrators in human trafficking in Russia. Karin Åström from Umeå University raised the issue of the purpose of the Swedish law – to fight human trafficking or protect the victims? Lena Holmqvist, Uppsala University, gave an account of the current state of Swedish jurisdiction.

Watch the movies from the conference