U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Sweden

Sweden (Tier 1)

Sweden is a destination and transit country for women and children trafficked from Eastern Europe, Russia, and the Balkan states for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Some victims are also trafficked to Sweden from South American and Asian countries, particularly Thailand. The final destinations of victims transiting through Sweden are primarily Denmark, Norway, and Germany. Sweden's National Police Board estimates 400-600 victims were trafficked to or through Sweden in 2003.

The Government of Sweden fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons. In 2003, the government sustained and strengthened its efforts to combat trafficking in persons. Sweden has commendably pioneered legislation that treats victims humanely and criminalizes the actions of the customer. The Swedish Government allotted $24 million to combat trafficking in 2004-2006. The Swedish parliament should adopt draft legislation submitted by the government to enhance victim protection and assistance.


Sweden's penal code includes specific legislation on trafficking in persons for sexual purposes for which the penalties are sufficiently severe, but the law does not cover other forms of trafficking, such as trafficking for forced labor. Currently, Sweden has extensive labor laws governing minimum working ages, minimum wage, and employment standards, as well as organized trade unions that have protected the labor force. Prosecutors rely on provisions that criminalize procurement due to the difficulty of proving unlawful coercion and deception. During the reporting period, 10 individuals were sentenced for trafficking in persons; these cases involved approximately 50 victims, all of whom were women. Eight of the 10 individuals were found guilty of procurement and two of sex trafficking. The sentences ranged from one to 12 years. Over the past year, the government tightened border controls and improved its training programs for law enforcement and border officials to enable them to more readily recognize and assist trafficking victims. The government routinely cooperates with other governments and international law enforcement agencies on trafficking investigations.


Sweden focused its attention in 2003 on improving victim assistance. In the past, Sweden lacked a clear bureaucratic structure for victim assistance. Recognizing this gap, during the reporting period the government drafted and presented to parliament legislation that would provide temporary residence status to victims involved in trafficking investigations or prosecutions, and would entitle them to health care and social welfare services. The draft legislation would require municipal governments to shelter and support victims of trafficking. Victim assistance in Sweden is currently provided on an ad hoc basis. Swedish authorities do not fine or prosecute victims. Of the approximately 50 victims previously noted, the police arranged for shelter and assistance for 10 to 15 victims involved in legal investigations. The majority of the women did not request support and expressed a desire to return to their home countries as soon as possible. The Swedish Government provides funding to NGOs in Sweden and abroad that provide support services to women who are victims of gender-based violence, including trafficking.


The Government of Sweden continued its information and education campaigns, including several established with Baltic states. In 2003, the government assigned The Swedish Institute to show the film "Lilya 4-Ever," a film about trafficking, and conduct follow-up discussion seminars in source countries in Europe. The government has also sought to raise awareness within the European Union (EU) on efforts to reduce trafficking demand. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Swedish International Development and Cooperation Agency (SIDA) continued to fund international organizations mounting anti-trafficking initiatives in the Baltics and Balkans. The government has initiated efforts to develop a national action plan to combat prostitution and trafficking.


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