Six charged in Stockholm sex trafficking ring

Six of the ten men under suspicion of being behind a large scale sex trafficking ring in Sweden’s capital were charged in Stockholm on Wednesday.

The men, who are reportedly between the ages of 21 and 28, are all Lithuanian citizens and are under suspicion of selling the sexual favours of some fifteen Lithuanian women, of which nine are plaintiffs in the trial, according to newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN).

The crimes, namely procuring and human trafficking, are said to have been committed in several flats and hotel rooms in the capital between November 2010 and August 2011.

The group attracted clients mainly through internet advertising, accoridng to the paper.

The charge sheet against the men states that they recruited financially vulnerable women in Lithuania with misleading information regarding the money and other perks they would receive if they worked as prostitutes in Sweden.

Once in Sweden, the women were at the mercy of the men, had no say in who their clients would be, and received a much lower pay than they had been promised.

One didn’t get paid at all.

Five of the men are charged with aggravated offences due to their involvement in what appears to be an organized and extensive operation, generating several hundred thousands of kronor.

Two of the men, aged 21 and 22, are believed to have pocketed the majority of the profit.

According to DN, prosecutor Sara Lindqvist believes that they have been in charge of the operation, that they were the ones instructing the other perpetrators and recruited the women.

Leif Silbersky, defence lawyer to one of the two, claims that his client stays adamant he is innocent.

“He completely denies all allegations,” said Silbersky to DN.

The police surveillance and investigation took place over a long period of time and the body of evidence is significant, according to the paper.

“That can be interpreted in several ways,” said Silbersky to DN, adding that the trial will continue for some time and that he was unable to disclose anything else his client had said about the case.

All of the charged men deny the allegations against them.

The Local/rm

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Stockholm Pride is a little different this year: here’s what you need to know 

This week marks the beginning of Pride festivities in the Swedish capital. The tickets sold out immediately, for the partly in-person, partly digital events. 

Pride parade 2019
There won't be a Pride parade like the one in 2019 on the streets of Stockholm this year. Photo: Stina Stjernkvist/TT

You might have noticed rainbow flags popping up on major buildings in Stockholm, and on buses and trams. Sweden has more Pride festivals per capita than any other country and is the largest Pride celebration in the Nordic region, but the Stockholm event is by far the biggest.  

The Pride Parade, which usually attracts around 50,000 participants in a normal year, will be broadcast digitally from Södra Teatern on August 7th on Stockholm Pride’s website and social media. The two-hour broadcast will be led by tenor and debater Rickard Söderberg.

The two major venues of the festival are Pride House, located this year at the Clarion Hotel Stockholm at Skanstull in Södermalm, and Pride Stage, which is at Södra Teatern near Slussen.

“We are super happy with the layout and think it feels good for us as an organisation to slowly return to normal. There are so many who have longed for it,” chairperson of Stockholm Pride, Vix Herjeryd, told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.

Tickets are required for all indoor events at Södra Teatern to limit the number of people indoors according to pandemic restrictions. But the entire stage programme will also be streamed on a big screen open air on Mosebacketerassen, which doesn’t require a ticket.  

You can read more about this year’s Pride programme on the Stockholm Pride website (in Swedish).