The County Administrative Board of Stockholm has several government commissions whose purpose is to combat prostitution and human trafficking. On behalf of the Government, Statskontoret has evaluated the work of the County Administrative Board with this assignment. The overarching question of the evaluation is whether the work of the County Administrative Board can be seen as having created better conditions for the collective work in this area.
The County Administrative Board has several government commissions within the area of prostitution and human trafficking
The County Administrative Boards represent the Government at the regional level. They are often commissioned to coordinate operations within various political spheres in the county, and sometimes even receive national coordination commissions.
In connection with the 2008 action plan against prostitution and human trafficking, the Government commissioned the County Administrative Board of Stockholm to coordinate the work against prostitution and human sex trafficking. The Government has subsequently commissioned the County Administrative Board several times in addition to the original coordination commission. Two of these commissions concern the development of support for people who have been subject to prostitution and human trafficking. The first, commissioned in 2009, is concerned with support for foreign individuals upon their return to their country of origin. The second commission, from 2010, is concerned with development of support for generally rehabilitative purposes. Additional assignments have been commissioned in 2013 and 2014. The various commissions of the County Administrative Board extend until the end of 2014.
The work of the County Administrative Board with the commissions is primarily implemented by a group within the Unit of Social Development. The group consists of 5.4 positions today. In total, the County Administrative Board of Stockholm was allocated SEK 55.6 million for the commissions during the period 2009 to 2014.
The coordination commission has largely been completed
It is the assessment of Statskontoret that the County Administrative Board has largely fulfilled the goal of the coordination commission. Primarily, Collaboration has been primarily developed between parties who work with issues of prostitution and human trafficking at the operational level. The County Administrative Board has created a forum for cooperation, developed methods support in the form of national guidelines and organised education programmes for the various types of parties. The County Administrative Board has also established a national referral service to which people who work with actual cases can turn for support or referral to appropriate parties. The target group of the service includes governmental and regional agencies as well as non-profit organisations. The use of the service has increased over the last two years.
Limited formalisation and lack of cooperation on a management level
The County Administrative Board has not formalised cooperation to any great extent, nor has it established a forum for cooperation with representation at the higher executive or management level. Our assessment is that these types of measures would have increased the status and legitimacy of the cooperation. This would likely have made the cooperation less vulnerable and increased the level of engagement of the other concerned parties. Furthermore, it would have improved the possibilities to disseminate information and create a long-term perspective in the work. In addition, the opportunities to discuss strategic issues more comprehensively would likely have been improved.
Certain parties have been included to a lesser degree in the cooperation
According to the County Administrative Board, one challenge in coordinating the work is that the application of the Social Services Act by municipalities varies in terms of what type of support is provided to victims of crime. The fact that the Social Services Act provides municipalities with a fairly large margin of interpretation is grounded in municipal autonomy. According to Statskontoret, the variety of applications points to an increased need for cooperation between municipalities and also between these and other parties in the field. It is the assessment of Statskontoret that the County Administrative Board could have benefited from a deeper, more formalised collaboration with the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR), as the representative of the municipalities, and with the National Board of Health and Welfare, as the authoritative agency for social services.
In addition, it would likely have been valuable to the County Administrative Board's efforts if non-profit organisations had been included to a larger extent in the central cooperation, as they play an important role in the work of support for victims.
The commission regarding support upon repatriation has been completed
In the assessment of Statskontoret, the County Administrative Board has fulfilled the goals of the commission regarding repatriation. The County Administrative Board implemented concrete measures so that foreign citizens who are victims of prostitution or human trafficking can return to their countries of origin in a safer manner. The County Administrative Board has collaborated with relevant parties in the work and through cooperation with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), has taken advantage of existing operations in the field.
The goals of the commission regarding a support programme for rehabilitation will not likely be fulfilled In the assessment of Statskontoret, the County Administrative Board will have limited opportunity to completely satisfy the goals of the support programme commission during 2014. This is largely explained by how the County Administrative Board has chosen to implement the commission. Other contributing factors are that the commissioned objectives are high, and that certain conditions outside of the County Administrative Board's control render the work difficult. Examples include the different ways in which municipalities apply the Social Services Act, and that central concepts of migration and aliens legislation are interpreted differently.
Issues to take into consideration in the continued work
In the report, Statskontoret identifies issues which are important to take into consideration in the continued work against human trafficking and prostitution. We emphasize certain consequences of the County Administrative Board's choice of working methods. In particular it would have been beneficial for cooperation if it had been formalised to a greater extent and if a forum for cooperation at the higher executive or management level had been established.
Statskontoret also discusses certain external frameworks for work in areas where the County Administrative Board has no control. The discussion includes the advantages and disadvantages of appointing a regional stakeholder such as a County Administrative Board as coordinator at the national level.
In the report, Statskontoret additionally discusses the general conditions for organising a coordinating function. Our assessment shows that there remain obstacles for cooperation which will need to be managed on an ongoing basis. Therefore, it may be necessary to closely consider how a potential future coordinating function can be designed and which party should be given this responsibility.
There may also be cause to appoint a commission of inquiry in order to assess the need for coordination in the long term, and how to best meet that need. In the report, we identify advantages and disadvantages with the various alternatives which can be considered in this type of inquiry. In the short term, and pending this type of inquiry, it is the assessment of Statskontoret that the most appropriate and cost effective solution is likely to extend the County Administrative Board's commission for a few years.