• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Police turn blind eye to Swedish 'slave trade'

Solveig Rundquist · 25 Jul 2014, 15:18

Published: 25 Jul 2014 15:18 GMT+02:00

Gothenburg police busted a large Romanian pimping network in 2011, but it wasn't long before new brothel-keepers from various countries took over. Now the problem is back with a vengeance, with police admitting they lack the resources to address it - and are thus forced to ignore the reports.

"We haven't worked with the issue at all for a year now," Stefan Adamsson, police officer in the Gothenburg trafficking unit, told The Local. "We would need to be three times as many police to be able to do anything about it."

Newspaper Expressen reported earlier this week that human traffickers had gone from "just" selling sex to selling women as lifelong slaves.

The newspaper's sources said the cost for a slave - "for life" - is €2,000 ($2680). For 700 kronor ($100) one can rent a couple of girls for a day, for cooking, cleaning, or anything else. "Do what you like with them," one seller reportedly said. 

"It has really always been a form of slave trade," Adamsson told The Local. "It's just a different name. Some are sold to work and some are sold for work, but they are just different forms of human trafficking."

Human trafficking is an acknowledged problem in large Swedish cities, with well-established red-light districts in Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö. However, there are no clear statistics on how widespread the black-market business actually is as much of the trade is conducted online. 

A report from Lund University in 2012 found that one in ten of the 5,000 Swedish men surveyed had paid for sex at some point during their lives. That number is lower than many places in Europe, Adamsson said, with rates as high as 60 percent in Spain and Italy, but still high enough to be of definite concern. 
 
While 85 percent of those who had purchased sex said they had only done it abroad, it is difficult to find statistics for how many purchases actually occur in Sweden - since buying sex has been illegal since 1999.
 
It is not, however, illegal for a person to sell sex in Sweden. The women who prostitute themselves, whether of free will or out of force, commit no crime. But it is a crime to pimp or procure - as Adamsson said many men do with their "girlfriends". 
 
"Particularly when it comes to the girls from Romania, it's frequently their boyfriends who are the pimps," Adamsson told The Local. 
 
"They say it's temporary and 'It will be you and me when we get back to Romania'. They do it for the men they love, who promise a better life."
 
In November last year news station TV4 reported that sex trafficking was on the rise, with a quarter million sex purchases in Stockholm alone over the course of one year. The report stated that a sum of about 400 million kronor was exchanged online for sex sales, and that there was no way of knowing how many more purchases occurred on the streets. 
 
"It's like ordering a pizza," Per Hjort, a Stockholm detective, told TV4 at the time. "You call and say what you want, and for how long, and then the girl comes to your place."
 
The situation is similar in Gothenburg, but police have other priorities. Persistent and war-like gang violence has kept the police force busy. In September last year the police launched 'Operation Trygg' (Operation Safe) to combat the shootings. Still, there have been more than 20 shootings in Gothenburg this year alone. 
 
Story continues below…
"Management has decided to prioritize not letting these young people tear each other apart," Adamsson said.
 
"We have a pile ten centimetres high of tips and reports [about human trafficking], but we don't have the time or resources to handle it so we can't even look. We can read them of course, but then we just feel frustrated because we can't do anything."
 

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Solveig Rundquist (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Sweden paying 'millions' for empty asylum beds
A child plays outside a hotel converted into asylum accommodation in Överkalix. File photo: Fredrik Sandberg / TT

The Swedish migration authority (Migrationsverket) has spent a reported 197 million kronor ($23 million) on unused beds for asylum seekers in 2016.

Sweden to join Nato strategic centre: director
Photo: Fredrik Broman/Imagebank Sweden

Non-aligned Sweden will join Nato's Strategic Communications Centre based in nearby Latvia amid heightened tensions with Russia.

Swedes bake during 'record' warm September
Swedes relax on Malmö's Sundspromenaden at sunset on 14th September 2016. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

New record temperatures are expected to be confirmed in a number of places across the country.

Where to see the Northern Lights in Sweden
The Northern Lights pictured in Sweden on Wednesday night. Photo: Norrsken Sverige

An unusually high level of solar activity means the spectacle could be visible from rare spots in the country.

Swedish police 'in crisis' says union head
A file photo of Swedish police officers. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

The creation of a new merged national police authority in Sweden has not gone well, according to the Swedish Police Union.

Nobel Prizes 2016
Nobel Literature Prize announcement delayed
Haruki Murakami (pictured) is one of the bookmakers' favourites. Photo: Bernat Armangue/AP/TT

The delay is due to 'arithmetic', an academician said.

Horny elk hold up Swedish hunt
One of the randy animals in question. Photo: Mikael Fritzon/TT

The giant things just can't contain themselves.

Sweden to ban masks but not burqas at football matches
A masked supporter at a Stockholm derby football match last year. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

The ban is designed to curb violence at sporting events in Sweden, but it must also follow conventions on religious freedom.

Video
Heckler humbles Swedish golf champion with perfect putt
Henrik Stenson met his match in the final practice for the Ryder Cup. Photo: Charlie Riedel/AP/TT

Well that wasn't supposed to happen...

Presented by Invest Stockholm
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges

It’s no secret that Stockholm is serious about sustainability. We took a look at how the city's emerging startups are tackling global challenges, making the world a better place.

Sponsored Article
‘I view the world in a different way now’
National
OPINION: Sweden bad, Norway good, Trump better? I'm confused
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
National
Here's how much Sweden's highest-earning authors make
National
Where to see the Northern Lights in Sweden
Blog updates

27 September

Cutting your nose …. (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Last week, Jeremy Browne, the Special Representative for the City of London, visited Sweden. Jeremy was…" READ »

 

7 September

Svensk or svenska? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! My inbox is full of questions :-). Here’s one about when to use “svensk” and…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Expat finances in Sweden: the Common Reporting Standard
Gallery
People-watching: September 28th
Sponsored Article
Let's Talk: a personal Swedish language tutor in your pocket
National
Aliens' sex lives? Why Swedes want Nasa to send a condom into space
Analysis & Opinion
'If Sweden really wants startups, drop the red tape on migration'
Gallery
Property of the week: Gotland
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Trump an 'embarrassment' Springsteen tells Sweden
Sponsored Article
'Creating a sense of home': Collective living in Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching: September 23rd-25th
Politics
Russian Sweden Democrat aide resigns over suspect deal
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
Muslim teacher leaves job after not shaking male colleague's hand
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: 'So much more than beaches'
Travel
Why we adore autumn in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 21st
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Stockholmers hunt killer badger after attack on neighbourhood hipster cat
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
The Local Voices
Why this Russian developer is committed to helping refugees - with tech
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Six key points in Sweden's budget plan
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
The Local Voices
How a Swedish name finally made recruiters notice this Iranian's CV
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Gallery
Property of the week: Luleå
Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden’s ’a-kassa’
Gallery
People-watching: September 16th-18th
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Culture
Why Swedish TV has given these kids' trucks a sex swap
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
National
TIMELINE: Everything you need to know about the Julian Assange case
Gallery
People-watching: September 14th
Politics
Why Sweden is putting troops on holiday dream island Gotland
The Local Voices
'What I mean when I say: I came here to blow myself up'
Society
VIDEO: Are Swedes that unfriendly?
The Local Voices
'Whenever I apply for jobs I’m treated like an unwanted stranger'
2,945
jobs available