200-400 Women Trafficked Every Year
As long as there is a demand, there will be people supplying the market of prostitution, officials with the national trafficking unit say.
About 200-400 women are trafficked to the Stockholm area every year, says Jonas Trolle, who is the head of investigations of the trafficking unit with the Stockholm Police.
Though Sweden is not by far ranking as the worst country for human trafficking and prostitution, the problem remains a large one, he says and and adds, “It’s definitely a problem tied in with organized crime groups. If they see a demand, they will supply it.”
Human trafficking in prostitution is the third biggest activity, only narcotics and weapon comes before it, Trolle says.
The women, or girls, some are as young as 13, who come to Sweden as prostitutes via human traffickers, are mostly from Estonia, Russia, Rumania, Bulgaria, Albania, Nigeria, Thailand and Poland. Many of the women are aware of the fact that they are entering a future of prostitution, but many are tricked on the terms. They are, for example, often expected to pay back costs of travel, rent, advertising, food and toilet requisites.
“They probably understand that it sounds too good to be true, but in many cases they are told that they will have to do some type of sexual activity, but get to choose and maybe having one customer a day,” says Patrik Cederlöf, the national coordinator against prostitution and human trafficking for sexual purposes in Sweden, placed at the County Administrative Board in Stockholm. He has worked with human trafficking and prostitution since the late 1990s and has seen it all.
“They are always indebted and that’s how they’re kept in control,” he says. “They are prisoners with invisible walls.”