Stockholm police break up human trafficking ring

Stockholm police have identified a large number of sex-buyers following the arrests of six men on suspicion of trafficking and pimping charges in a case involving at least 20 Lithuanian women.

The large number of suspects identified in the case are in the process of interviewing suspects.

“We have three days to submit a remand order and so we are in an intensive stage of the process. Interviews have been conducted with the arrested men,” said Petra Sjölander at Stockholm police to The Local on Friday.

The six men, all of Lithuanian origin and aged 20-55-years-old, were arrested on Wednesday morning in a series of raids at apartments in the greater Stockholm area.

The arrests came as a result of an extended surveillance operation by the Stockholm City police department’s unit for human trafficking.

“Yesterday’s arrests came after a lengthy surveillance following tips that there had been a lot of coming and going at the apartments and frequent visits from various people,” the police confirmed on their homepage.

The men were arrested on suspicion of charges of either human trafficking and aggravated pimping. A remand order is due on Saturday at the latest.

The case is currently reported to cover around 20 woman exploited for sexual services, but the police advise that the case could grow to include more women.

All of the affected women are reported to be Lithuanian citizens.

Stockholm police have advised that as the investigation is in an intensive stage no further details can be published at this time.

The purchase of sexual services is a crime in Sweden and carries a penalty ranging from fines to up to a year’s imprisonment.

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Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

The chairwoman of the Police Association West Region has said that police special tactics, known as Särskild polistaktik or SPT, should be available across Sweden, to use in demonstrations similar to those during the Easter weekend.

Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

SPT, (Särskild polistaktik), is a tactic where the police work with communication rather than physical measures to reduce the risk of conflicts during events like demonstrations.

Tactics include knowledge about how social movements function and how crowds act, as well as understanding how individuals and groups act in a given situation. Police may attempt to engage in collaboration and trust building, which they are specially trained to do.

Katharina von Sydow, chairwoman of the Police Association West Region, told Swedish Radio P4 West that the concept should exist throughout the country.

“We have nothing to defend ourselves within 10 to 15 metres. We need tools to stop this type of violent riot without doing too much damage,” she said.

SPT is used in the West region, the South region and in Stockholm, which doesn’t cover all the places where the Easter weekend riots took place.

In the wake of the riots, police unions and the police’s chief safety representative had a meeting with the National Police Chief, Anders Tornberg, and demanded an evaluation of the police’s work. Katharina von Sydow now hopes that the tactics will be introduced everywhere.

“This concept must exist throughout the country”, she said.

During the Easter weekend around 200 people were involved in riots after a planned demonstration by anti-Muslim Danish politician Rasmus Paludan and his party Stram Kurs (Hard Line), that included the burning of the Muslim holy book, the Koran.

Police revealed on Friday that at least 104 officers were injured in counter-demonstrations that they say were hijacked by criminal gangs intent on targeting the police. 

Forty people were arrested and police are continuing to investigate the violent riots for which they admitted they were unprepared. 

Paludan’s application for another demonstration this weekend was rejected by police.

In Norway on Saturday, police used tear gas against several people during a Koran-burning demonstration after hundreds of counter-demonstrators clashed with police in the town of Sandefjord.