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EMPLOYMENT

Sweden’s October layoffs hit historic highs

October 2008 was the worst month for layoffs in Sweden in more than 15 years, according to new statistics.

Figures released on Monday by the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) show that 19,521 people were told they’d be made redundant in October, the highest figure since November 1992 when 22,217 workers were given notice.

At the end of last week, 155,575 people were registered with the agency as unemployed, an increase of 320 people compared to the previous week and 3,378 more than the corresponding week last year.

The number of people in supported employment increased to 79,191, up by 247 from the week before and a reduction of 14,040 compared to the same week last year.

During the week, employers registered 8,234 new positions with the agency, down by 223 jobs from the week before and 6,896 fewer than the corresponding week in 2007.

The statistics show that the current pace of layoffs is in line with the job losses experienced in Sweden in the aftermath of the country’s banking crisis in the early 1990s.

In 1992, around 15,000 to 20,000 layoffs were announced every month, for a total of about 185,000 redundancies for the year.

Then, much like now, most of the job losses have been concentrated in the vehicle industry in western Sweden.

IMMIGRATION

Boys claim woman threatened them with ‘sex or deportation’

A woman who ran a refugee home in central Sweden is under investigation for sexual offences after two Afghan boys claimed she threatened them with deportation if they refused her advances.

Boys claim woman threatened them with 'sex or deportation'
File image of asylum seekers in a Migration Agency waiting room in Solna. Photo: Marcus Ericsson/TT

The boys, who have not been named, say the woman encouraged them to film her having sex with them, newspaper Eskilstuna Kuriren reports.

She then urged them to watch the films and to phone her when they missed her, they said. 

Eskilstuna Kuriren was given access to the films and believes they show the acts described by the boys, and that the woman can clearly be identified. She rejects the accusations.

The boys told Eskilstuna Kuriren they tried to inform social services and the police about what was happening but nobody listened to them.

They then went to the newspaper with their story on the advice of relatives living in another part of Sweden. 

“The boss at the home forced us into it and exploited us for sex. She knew we had to, and that nobody would help us,” one said. 

The boys say they had sex with the woman on four or five occasions, at a hotel and in her own home in the Sörmland region.

On one occasion all three were in bed together, they say, but mostly one of the boys had sex with the woman while the other filmed. 

The woman also offered the boys alcohol, they claim, saying it would help them enjoy the experience and despite them being under 18, the legal age for drinking alcohol. 

They allege that she promised to buy them clothes and toiletries if they had sex with her, but she also told them she would destroy important documents and get the migration agency to deport them if they turned her down.

They also faced sexual advances from other people in the woman’s social circle, they say. 

In an interview with Eskilstuna Kuriren one of the boys says they would be “stoned to death” if they ever went back to Afghanistan and their story got out. 

The boys were recently moved to a home in a different municipality. Local authorities there contacted the police after learning of their allegations. 

Police confirmed to the newspaper that an investigation into sexual offences was ongoing. They would not specify what the alleged offences were. 

The boys say they arrived in Sweden in November after they were urged by their families to flee Afghanistan and seek a better life.