Action against Trafficking in Human Beings

GRETA publishes first report on Sweden

Link to the report

Strasbourg, 27 May 2014 - The Council of Europeís Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) has published today its first evaluation report on Sweden.

In its report, GRETA welcomes the steps taken by the Swedish authorities to combat trafficking in human beings and support victims of trafficking, including the adoption of relevant legislation, the setting up of institutional framework and specialised structures within the police and prosecution. At the same time, according to the report, the Swedish authorities should take further steps to ensure that action against human trafficking is comprehensive, by paying increased attention to trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation as well as trafficking for forced begging and forced criminality, and trafficking within Sweden.

The report commends the initiatives of the Swedish authorities to alert the general public about trafficking for sexual exploitation and considers that the authorities should strengthen their awareness-raising efforts as regards trafficking for all types of exploitation.

GRETA is concerned that the identification of victims of trafficking depends to a large extent on providing information necessary for the initiation of a criminal investigation, which leaves many victims of trafficking without formal identification and deprives them of necessary protection and assistance provided for under the Convention. To identify victims of trafficking more effectively, the Swedish authorities should set up a formalised national referral mechanism, with a clear role in the identification process to frontline actors who may come into contact with victims of trafficking, such as NGOs, labour inspectors, social workers and officials dealing with irregular migrants and asylum seekers.

According to the report, the authorities need to ensure that access to assistance for victims of trafficking is provided regardless of whether they co-operate in the investigation and criminal proceedings, and that safe and suitable accommodation is available to victims of trafficking for all forms of exploitation. GRETA welcomes the efforts of the Swedish authorities to make compensation available to victims of trafficking, and stresses the need for effective access to legal aid for victims claiming compensation.

Finally, GRETA calls on the Swedish authorities to identify gaps in the investigation procedure with a view to ensuring that human trafficking offences for all types of exploitation are effectively investigated and prosecuted, leading to proportionate and dissuasive sanctions. The report highlights the need for further training and specialisation of judges, prosecutors and police officers.

Prior to drawing up its evaluation report, GRETA held consultations with the relevant authorities and non-governmental and international organisations active in the field of combating trafficking in human beings in Sweden. A confidential first draft of the report was sent to the Swedish authorities and their comments were taken into account in the final evaluation report adopted by GRETA. This report is published together with the final comments of the Swedish authorities, as provided for by the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. On the basis of GRETAís report, the Committee of the Parties to the Convention will consider adopting recommendations addressed to the Government of Sweden.

[Click here for more information on Sweden and the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings]