Sweden wakes up to the “white slave trade”

Four Estonians appeared in court in Stockholm last week suspected of running a major prostitution racket from December 2003 until April 2004.

They were accused of recruiting twenty young women from their home country to work as prostitutes in the organisation’s own brothels, in hotels and at clients’ homes.

The investigation revealed that both the gang leaders and the women made a considerable amount of money. Records retrieved indicated that the women kept between 30 and 50% of their earnings, with one woman earning between 15,000 and 20,000 crowns a week.

Five clients are also being charged with procuring sexual favours as part of the prosecution.

Skåne, which includes Sweden’s third city, Malmö, is lagging behind Stockholm and Gothenburg in dealing with the so-called “white slave trade”.

In 2002 a new law came into force to facilitate the prosecution of individuals involved in the trafficking of people for sexual purposes. The government made available 30 million crowns to fund investigations. Authorities in Skåne have so far failed to apply for a single öre.

But the picture isn’t much better in Stockholm and Gothenburg. Although they’ve been better at registering and investigating white slave crimes, the new law has so far only resulted in one conviction. Inspector Kajsa Wahlberg of the National Police Agency told SvD:

“The law against trafficking is given different priority by different police authorities. It faces tough competition from drugs. There are negative attitudes about trafficking throughout the judicial system.”

An example of how authorities in Skåne have been missing opportunities to investigate potential trafficking cases came in the National Police Agency’s latest annual report.

Police found a 17 year old Polish girl who had slashed her wrists. With the help of the Immigration Service, she was simply deported back to Poland without being questioned about what she was doing in Sweden.

Ingela Klinteberg, deputy chief prosecutor in Landskrona, Skåne, certainly thinks attitudes need changing:

“If traffic police find two young girls with an older man who doesn’t speak the same language, they must ask themselves what’s going on. Even if it means possibly instigating a difficult investigation.”

However, things should be changing. Peter Tjäder, head of tactical operations for Skåne police, said a specially appointed commission to tackle the problem is the only sensible answer.

“We haven’t done as many operations against trafficking as against other serious crime. We haven’t even assigned resources to the problem. Trafficking demands a lot of intelligence work, police have to uncover the cases themselves. Tips from the public or other people are very unusual. It’s embarrassing that we haven’t been able to devote the necessary resources before. We need to do something about it.”

Sources: Svenska Dagbladet, Expressen, Aftonbladet, Göteborgs Posten


Swedish party leader calls for chemical castration of sex offenders

Sweden's Christian Democrats have called for tougher sentences for sex offenders and making release conditional on chemical castration.

Swedish party leader calls for chemical castration of sex offenders

The Swedish Christian Democrats (KD) leader has called for the chemical castration of certain sex offenders as part of plans for a tougher grip on sexual crime and punishment in Sweden.

Speaking to the Swedish parliament on July 1st, KD party leader Ebba Busch said, “Every day, 27 rapes are reported. How many days must pass before the government takes action?”

“Today we propose that rapists and people who commit sexual crimes against children should be able to be chemically castrated.”

The controversial chemical castration proposal was the headline grabbing soundbite in a broader set of proposals to recalibrate the structure of Sweden’s sexual crime sentencing.

Among KD’s proposed sentencing changes is a life sentence for the aggravated rape of a child, the removal of automatic conditional release for sex offenders, and an increase in the sentence for aggravated rape up to a maximum of 25 years.

In addition, they want a “monitoring period” for convicts who have been released, equivalent to one third of the sentence served.

They also want to establish a national knowledge centre for sexual violence where people who feel that they have “problematic sexuality” can receive support. The center must also “be able to administer chemical castration on a voluntary basis to those who are concerned about unwanted sexual thoughts and impulses and have a compulsive sexuality”.

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Chemical castration, she suggested, should be implemented as a condition of release for some sexual offenders. “It may mean that if a person like Nytorgsmannen is to be able to become a free man, a chemical castration must have taken place before the release,” Busch said, referring to Andreas Holm, a man sentenced in 2021 for 35 different crimes including 24 rapes.

But this is not the first time the Christian Democrats have toyed with the idea of chemical castration as a form of legal punishment. As far back as 20 years ago, under former leader Alf Svensson, the right-wing party raised the idea of conditional chemical castration of rapists and pedophiles.

At the time the proposal was rejected by all other parties.

Chemical castration, the process of preventing sex hormone production through chemicals, can reduce sexual libido but the effects on those with deviant behaviours are relatively unknown.

Chemical castration can also prove costly as it is not a one-off treatment but rather requires regular interventions, which means the police would be reliant on those sentences to chemical castration making regular trips to the authorities for further treatment.