Legal assessments of victims of human trafficking for sexual purposes
2016 (English)In: Behavioral sciences & the law (Print), ISSN 0735-3936, E-ISSN 1099-0798, Vol. 34, no 1, 218-233 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The present study investigated how Swedish district court judges assessed child victims' credibility and the reliability of their testimony in cases of alleged human trafficking for sexual purposes. Court files from 12 different cases, involving 16 alleged child victims (aged 13–17 years old), all of them girls, were qualitatively analyzed with particular attention paid to how the judges described credibility and reliability. Results indicated that, although the judges' assessments to a large extent were based on the Swedish Supreme Court's criteria for credibility and reliability, they were applied somewhat arbitrarily and subjectively. They were also applied as if obvious and grounded on shared experiences, although their meaning was never explored. The way that credibility was assessed may also reinforce gender and victim stereotypes. Moreover, there seems to exist a confusion surrounding the credibility and reliability concepts, as they were sometimes used interchangeably despite the intention that they are two different assessments. Overall, an apparent need exists to increase judges' awareness that their subjective impressions should decrease when legitimizing judicial decisions.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 34, no 1, 218-233 p.
Research subject Child and Youth Science
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-116803DOI: 10.1002/bsl.2228ISI: 000375400600013OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-116803DiVA: diva2:808284