Last Updated: Friday, 27 November 2015, 12:04 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Sweden

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 11 June 2003
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Sweden, 11 June 2003, available at: [accessed 28 November 2015]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Sweden (Tier 1)

Sweden is a destination country for trafficked women and an increasing number of girls for the purposes of sexual exploitation. Victims mostly are from the Baltic countries and central and eastern Europe, but a small number are from Latin America and the Caribbean. Sweden also is a transit country for trafficked victims on their way to Spain, Germany, Denmark, and Norway.

The Government of Sweden fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Although the Government of Sweden has dedicated resources in source countries, it must focus more on the problem within its own borders, such as including labor trafficking in its legislation so as to fully criminalize all types of trafficking in persons; increasing prosecutions and convictions, and better distinguishing of trafficking from illegal immigration to prevent immediate deportation of victims. Implementation of Sweden's pioneering legal approach to criminalizing trafficking and prostitution will be monitored with interest as a potentially effective anti-trafficking model.


Swedish law enforcement and social services recently began to distinguish trafficking from illegal immigration and prostitution. The government engages in active research to improve the effectiveness of legal actions against traffickers, to support and protect victims, and to better combat trafficking in general. As a result, the government launched several education campaigns in Sweden and neighboring countries to raise awareness and improve cooperation in the region. Sweden also supports the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe, specifically the programs on prosecution. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Swedish International Development and Cooperation Agency (SIDA) significantly funds international organizations' anti-trafficking efforts in other countries in the Baltics and Balkans, such as NGO capacity building, prevention campaigns, and rehabilitation for victims.


The government passed a new law on trafficking in persons for sexual purposes in July 2002, but the law does not cover labor trafficking. The government also passed a pioneering law that criminalizes the purchase, rather than the sale, of sex, while police and prosecuting authorities actively investigate cases of trafficking. Out of 200-300 trafficking cases reported by the National Police within the last year, three were actively investigated and are pending, but no convictions were secured. Various Swedish anti-trafficking units established in police districts during the previous year were terminated due to lack of financial commitment. The government cooperates with Interpol and Europol to investigate and prosecute traffickers and it adequately monitors its borders.


The government encourages victims to assist in the investigation and the prosecution of traffickers, and Sweden's social services agencies have a legal responsibility to provide shelter to victims while they take part in trial proceedings. Victims also are entitled to legal, emotional, and psychological support during trials. However, in practice, victims do not fully utilize the shelter provided by social services agencies, as they are sent home almost immediately after authorities uncover the crimes. The Migration Board shelters asylum seekers, but most trafficking victims do not apply for asylum. In many cases, victims are deported immediately.

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