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Swedish law criminalizes human trafficking as well as preparation for or attempted human trafficking.  Aliens who are victims of human trafficking in Sweden receive temporary residence permits for reflection and/or stabilization periods.  The County Administrative Board for Stockholm is responsible for the national coordination of efforts against human trafficking.  Tailored courses in human trafficking for police personnel are provided by both universities and private corporations.

I.  Legal Framework

Sweden criminalizes human trafficking in its Criminal Code and is bound by European Union (EU) law on the subject.[1]  Human trafficking is defined in the Criminal Code as follows:

He or she who, [in cases other than kidnapping] through illegal coercion, exploitation of someone’s situation, or through other improper means, recruits, transports, transfers, houses, or receives a person with the purpose that he or she should be exploited for sexual purposes, harvesting of organs, war service, forced labor, or other activity in a situation that creates an emergency for the victim, is convicted of human trafficking and receives a  prison term of at least two but no more than ten years.  A person who commits [such an act] against a person who is not yet eighteen years old is convicted of human trafficking regardless whether an improper means [prescribed above] has been employed.  For lesser crimes of [human trafficking] a person is sentenced to a maximum of four years in prison.[2]

The Code also criminalizes attempt, preparation, and conspiracy to commit human trafficking as well as a failure to report such a crime.[3]

Crimes that are carried out by children while they are victims of human trafficking are "statute barred crimes" and thus not prosecuted.[4]

Victims of human trafficking receive temporary visas for a thirty-day reflection period or six-month stabilization period.[5]  In rare cases, longer residence permits can be issued for victims of human trafficking on humanitarian grounds.[6]

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II.  Responsibilities of Government Agencies in Enforcing Laws Against Human Trafficking

A.  Stockholm County Administrative Board

The Swedish Government has delegated the coordination responsibility for combating and preventing human trafficking crimes to the Stockholm County Administrative Board in Stockholm.[7]  Its role was defined in a 2014 government task order and included “coordinating the proliferation of knowledge and methods to provide support and protection for children against human trafficking and exploitation to municipalities, county councils, county administrative boards and agencies [such as the police] in their work.”[8]  The Stockholm County Administrative Board also reports on its work in the periodic Human Trafficking of Children Report.[9]

B.  Border Control Agencies & the Police

Swedish border control is carried out by several government agencies.  These include the Customs Police, Coast Guard, Migration Authority, and Central Border Management Division within the National Bureau of Investigation.[10]   The National Operational Unit (NOA) of the Swedish Police bears the overall responsibility for the Swedish borders.[11]  As part of the NOA, the Border Police (Gränspolisen) carries out the actual control of the border in conjunction with the relevant agency.  Thus, for example, the Border Police and the Coast Guard cooperate in relation to border controls and violations of Swedish waters.  The Border Police also conduct the investigative work surrounding human trafficking.[12] 

The main responsibility to prevent human trafficking lies with the police, who should identify and investigate this offense.  Human trafficking cases are within the jurisdiction of the public prosecutor; there is no special prosecutor for such cases.  In its border protection work (including human trafficking work) the Swedish Police cooperates with Frontex and the European Border Guard Teams.[13]

C.  Migration Authority

The Migration Authority has responsibility to detect and report suspected instances of human trafficking.[14]  In addition, the Migration Authority must report to the police all measures it uses to identify children who are victims of human trafficking.[15]  Starting in December 2015, the Migration Authority has adopted a new routine of personal interviews intended to better detect victims of human trafficking in the labor market.[16]

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III.  Training Programs for Law Enforcement Agencies

Swedish Police have previously been described by representatives of the Stockholm County Administrative Board (responsible for coordination of human trafficking prevention and enforcement efforts) as possessing little knowledge on human trafficking.[17]  Following this criticism it has created a number of educational programs.  Still, in 2014, ECPAT Sweden (national affiliation of End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography, and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes) reported that more needed to be done to educate law enforcement personnel on human trafficking issues.[18]

As mentioned in Part II, above, the Stockholm County Administrative Board is responsible for the coordination of efforts to fight human trafficking.  An informational report on children as victims of human trafficking from the Stockholm County Administrative Board meant to educate persons, including law enforcement officers, who come into contact with children who are victims of human trafficking can be found on the Board’s website.[19]  In additional to background and general advice this report includes a checklist for how to deal with such victims.[20]  In its report for 2015 the Administrative Board found that further training of police, especially outside of the larger cities, was needed.[21]

A.  Interactive Course for Police Personnel

The Police train all of its personnel on issues of human trafficking through a special intranet-based course with an accompanying test.  The test was first initiated in 2010 by the National Police.[22]  The creation of this intranet-based test was outsourced to a private company, SamSari AB.[23]  The police still offer the interactive course for all of its employees.  During the period of 2012–2014 human trafficking was a priority area for the police.[24]

B.  Targeted Education of Police Officers

Training on human trafficking is incorporated into police training.  Courses on interacting with victims of human trafficking are part of the general police education.[25]  There are also special educational programs on human trafficking targeted to active police personnel offered through universities, such as Uppsala University.[26]

In addition to institutionalized education and training there are also other initiatives to train police personnel.  For example, the Swedish Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority (Brottsoffermyndigheten) has held educational programs for law enforcement at the request of the government.[27]

Moreover, the government has given the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) responsibility for creating educational materials intended for, among others, law enforcement personnel who work with children who are victims of human trafficking.[28]

Other examples of law enforcement targeted training include full-day seminars, often in cooperation with government agencies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).[29]

C.  Cooperation Between Agencies and NGO involvement

There are several Swedish NGOs that work to end human trafficking or to support its victims.  Both the police and the National Board of Health and Welfare have cooperated with NGOs in its human trafficking training.

1.  Nationellt Metodstödsteam mot prostitution och människohandel

The Stockholm County Administrative Board leads a task force on prostitution and human trafficking, known as the Nationellt Metodstödsteam mot prostitution och människohandel (National Method Support Team Against Prostitution and Human Trafficking, NMT), which coordinates efforts between country administrative boards, public prosecutors, the NOA division of the police, the Migration Authority, and health care providers.[30]  This group cooperates with the Council of the Baltic Sea States, Plattformen Civila Sverige mot människohandel (Platform Civilian Sweden Against Human Trafficking),[31] and Insamlingsstiftelsen mot Trafficking (Fundraising Foundation Against Trafficking, IMTR).[32]  These organizations educate Swedish law enforcement in conjunction with the NMT and on their own initiative.[33]

The National Board of Health Care and Welfare has also held training sessions together with the NMT to educate government personnel on issues of human trafficking.[34]

2.  Stiftelsen Allmänna Barnhuset

The NGO Stiftelsen Allmänna Barnhuset (Public Children’s House Foundation)[35] has received funding directly from the Police to limit the risk of children becoming victims of human trafficking by tailoring information campaigns toward that goal.[36]  It also cooperates with the Stockholm County Administrative Board to fight human trafficking.[37]

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Prepared by Elin Hofverberg
Foreign Law Research Consultant
February 2016

[1] Council Directive 2004/81/EC of 29 April 2004 on the Residence Permit Issued to Third-Country Nationals Who are Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings or Who Have Been the Subject of an Action to Facilitate Illegal Immigration, Who Cooperate With the Competent Authorities, 2004 O.J. (L 261) 19, LexUriServ/, archived at; Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2011 on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and Protecting its Victims, and Replacing Council Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA, 2011 O.J. (L 101) 1,, archived at

[2] 4 ch. 1a § Brottsbalken [BRB] [Criminal Code] (Svensk Författningssamling [SFS] 1962:700),, archived at (all translations by author); see also RH 2010:34 [Svea Appellate Court Case on Human Trafficking],, archived at

[3] 4 ch. 10 § BRB and 23 ch. 6 § BRB.

[4] See Länsstyrelsen i Stockholm [Stockholm County Administrative Board], Kan Det Vara Människohandel? [Might It Be Trafficking?] 17 (Nov. 18, 2015), stockholm/SiteCollectionDocuments/Sv/publikationer/2015/kan-det-vara-manniskohandel-2015-reviderad-sid-26.pdf, archived at

[5] 5 ch. 15 § Utlänningslagen [UTL] [Aliens Act] (SFS 2005:716), (including comments), archived at

[6] Id. 5 ch. 3a § 3 mom. including comments).

[7] Press Release, Regeringskansliet, Länsstyrelsen i Stockholms län får ansvar för arbete mot människohandel (Apr. 30, 2015; updated May 18, 2105),, archived at

[8] Uppdrag att samordna arbetet mot människohandel och exploatering av barn [Mission to Coordinate Efforts Against Human Trafficking of Children] (Regeringsbeslut II:5 [Government Decision II:5]) (Feb. 20, 2014),, archived at

[9] For the most recent report, see Länsstyrelsen Stockholms Län, Människohandel med barn – nationell kartläggning 2012–2015 [Trafficking in Children – National Survey 2012–2015], Rapport 2015:30 (2015), (, archived at

[12] See Så fungerar gränspolisen i region Syd, Polisen (Nov. 24, 2015), Nyheter/Skane/okt-dec/Sa-fungerar-granspolisen-i-region-Syd/, archived at

[13] Rikspolisstyrelsen, supra note 10.

[14] Migrationsverket, Årsredovisning 2015 [Annual Report 2014] at 97, http://www.migrationsverket. se/download/18.39a9cd9514a346077212ead/1424702424160/%C3%85rsredovisning+2014.pdf (last visited Jan. 28, 2016), archived at

[15] Polisen, Människohandel för sexuella och andra ändamål: Lägesrapport 16, at 27 (2015), nationellt/M%C3%A4nniskohandel/Lagesrapport_16_Manniskohandel_webb.pdf, (police report covering the year 2014), archived at

[17] Utbildning ska minska människohandel, SverigesRadio (Feb. 7, 2011), programid=103&artikel=4336583, archived at

[18] Vi kan inte vänta - Sverige måste genomföra Europarådets rekommendationer för att stoppa människohandeln nu, ECPAT Blog (June 11, 2014),, archived at

[19] Länsstyrelsen i Stockholm, supra note 4, at 31.

[20] Id. at 31.

[21] Länsstyrelsen Stockholms Län, Människohandel med barn – nationell kartläggning 2012–2015, supra note 9, at 53.

[22] Kurs ska öka kunskap om människohandel, Svensk Polis (Sept. 10, 2010), Artikelarkiv/Artiklar-2010/augusti-2010/Kurs-ska-oka-kunskap-om-manniskohandel/, archived at

[23] Tilldelningsbeslut DiarieNr PVS-754-4884/09 [Procurement Decision 2009 No. PVS-754-4884], Rikspolisstyrelsen [National Board of Police] (Feb. 9, 2010), Publicering_20100211_Tilldelning_807_Interaktiv_utbildning.pdf, archived at; Press Release, SamSari AB, Rikspolisstyrelsen och SamSari utbildar poliser om människohandel [National Board of Police and SamSari Trains Police on Human Trafficking] (July 2, 2010), se/pressreleases/rikspolisstyrelsen-och-samsari-utbildar-poliser-om-maenniskohandel-433844, archived at

[24] Rikspolisstyrelsen, Tillsynsrapport 2013:7, Inspektion av polismyndigheternas förmåga att utreda ärenden om människohandel för sexuellaändamål och köp av sexuell tjänst 11, Global/www%20och%20Intrapolis/Rapporter-utredningar/01%20Polisen%20nationellt/Ovriga%20rapporter-utredningar/Inspektioner-tillsyns%20rapporter/2013/Tillsynsrapport_7_2013_Manniskohandel%20indd.pdf (last visited Feb. 1, 2016), archived at

[25] Polisen, Människohandel för sexuella och andra ändamål: Lägesrapport 16, supra note 15, at 15, 37.

[26] Kursplan för Människohandel – kurs för poliser (uppdragsutbildning) [Human Trafficking – Course for the Swedish Police (Contract Education)], Uppsala universitet, /selma/kursplan/?kpid=30029&type=1 (last visited Feb. 1, 2016), archived at  The course is described in more detail at NCK ger universitetskurs för poliser om människohandel, NCK Nationellt Centrum för Kvinnofrid, (last updated Jan. 26, 2016), archived at  

[27] Brottsoffermyndigheten, Prostitution och människohandel for sexuella ändamål, utbildningsprogram for ökad kunskap och bättre bemötande, Redovisning av ett regeringsuppdrag, No. Ju2008/7290/KRIM (2011), och%20m%C3%A4nniskohandel%20f%C3%B6r%20sexuella%20%C3%A4ndam%C3%A5l.pdf, archived at

[28] Id. at 27.  Educational material, including both written and video material, is available at Sex mot ersättning, Socialstyrelsen, (last visited Feb. 1, 2016), archived at

[29] Brottsoffermyndigheten, supra note 27, at 27.

[31] Plattformen Civila Sverige mot människohandel [Platform Civilian Sweden Against Human Trafficking], (last visited Feb. 1, 2016), archived at

[33] See Det här gör vi, IMT, (last visited Feb. 1, 2016), archived at   

[34] See, e.g., an invitation to training at Prostitution och människohandel – basutbildning, Länsstyrelsen Stockholm, (last visited Jan. 28, 2016), archived at

[35] Stiftelsen Allmänna Barnhuset, (last visisted Feb. 1, 2016), archived at

[36] Polisen, Människohandel för sexuella och andra ändamål: Lägesrapport 16, supra note 15, at 27.

[37] Stiftelsen Allmänna Barnhuset, Årsredovisning och verksamhetsberättelse 2014 [Annual Report 2014], at 38ättelse-och-Årsredovisning-2014.pdf, archived at

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Last Updated: 12/30/2020