The crime of human trafficking is intended to encompass activities such as recruitment by abusing a position of vulnerability for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Recruiting a young person into prostitution by ‘lover boy’ tactics can thus fall within the definition of human trafficking, a conviction that carries with it severe penalties. Several countries have seen a number of such convictions, including domestic cases not involv ing cross-border trafficking. Though there are Swedish convictions for recruitment into prostitution through abuse of emotional bonds in cross-border cases, a review of Swedish judgments shows that recruitment through such abuse in national cases is generally prosecuted as procuring (prostitution) – not as human trafficking.Since 2004, there have been only three Swedish prosecutions, and no convictions, for domestic human trafficking. The article argues that recruitment into prostitution by abuse of emotional bonds qualifies as abuse of a position of vulnerability – one of the elements of the crime of human trafficking. Thus, it is possible – even an international obligation – to prosecute national cases where there is recruitment into prostitution by abuse of emotional bonds as domestic trafficking. Prosecuting as human traffickingwould be in line with what the drafters of the 2000 global human trafficking treaty intended: to encompass all the subtle means by which persons are recruited for the purpose of exploitation. This should also apply to nationals.
Copyright (c) 2022 Märta C. Johansson
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