Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Sweden

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 3 June 2005
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Sweden, 3 June 2005, available at: [accessed 28 May 2016]
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 primarily a destination country for women and children trafficked from eastern and southeastern European countries, the Baltics, and Russia for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Police cited Thailand as another, less significant, source country. Sweden is also a transit country for a limited number of victims trafficked from the same source countries to destinations including Denmark, Norway, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

The Government of Sweden fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons. In 2004, the fight against trafficking in persons remained among the government's highest priorities. During the reporting period, Sweden broadened its anti-trafficking legislation and improved victim assistance. The government also commendably funded anti-trafficking information campaigns throughout Europe focusing on, among other aspects, curbing demand for trafficking victims. Sweden is in the process of establishing a special investigator to review aspects of its anti-trafficking law in an effort to make it more usable for prosecutors.


The Swedish Government is a leader in targeting demand for sexual exploitation with laws prosecuting sex buyers and protecting victims. Sweden continued its efforts to prosecute traffickers throughout the reporting period. While Sweden broadened its anti-trafficking legislation in July 2004 to cover labor exploitation and internal trafficking, prosecutors continued to use primarily procurement laws to obtain convictions of traffickers. Sweden's anti-trafficking legislation requires that prosecutors prove traffickers used "improper means" in order to secure a conviction. Judges commonly rule that "improper means" were absent in cases involving victims who consented at some point during their trafficking ordeal. Although initial consent would appear to be irrelevant under the anti-trafficking law, in practice, judicial interpretation of the "improper means" criteria makes it difficult to obtain convictions under the law. The July 2004 amendments called for the establishment of a special investigator to review the "improper means" criteria. In February 2005, the government prosecuted and convicted two traffickers under Sweden's anti-trafficking law. Both traffickers received sentences of four to five years' imprisonment. Additionally, the government prosecuted and convicted 20 persons for trafficking-related crimes under other statutes. Eleven of those 20 received sentences of one year or more imprisonment. The government trains police and prosecutors on proper handling of trafficking cases and victims. In February 2004, the National Police Academy began providing anti-trafficking training to new recruits. Police reported that ongoing training programs throughout the country are improving the responsiveness and effectiveness of local police anti-trafficking efforts. The government routinely cooperates with other governments and regional law enforcement organizations on trafficking investigations.


Sweden's efforts to protect victims of trafficking improved during the reporting period as amendments to Sweden's Aliens Act enacted in October 2004 helped to redress a gap in Sweden's assistance to these victims. Now prosecutors may obtain time-limited residence permits for trafficking victims who cooperate in the criminal investigation of traffickers. Police reported a decrease in rapid deportations following enactment of the amendments. Procedures are in place for police to contact NGOs and shelters in order to assist victims. Under Swedish law, municipal authorities bear responsibility for providing victims with health care and social services, and may obtain reimbursement from the government. Municipalities operate women's shelters throughout the country that admit and care for trafficking victims. During the reporting period, approximately 20 trafficking victims involved in legal investigations received government assistance through municipalities.


The Government of Sweden funded major anti-trafficking information campaigns in Europe during 2004, including a project with MTV Europe Foundation that featured a 30-minute anti-trafficking film estimated to have reached 146 million households. The government also initiated and participated in a project in the Barents region (Finland, Norway, Russia, Sweden) specifically aimed at reducing trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation. Sweden's foreign assistance agency continued to support several on-going projects directed against trafficking in Southeast Asian and southeastern European countries.

Search Refworld