Press release: New report on forced labour in Sweden

The CBSS Task Force against Trafficking in Human Beings is publishing a report today that goes through Swedish court cases concerning forced labour between the years of 2004-2020.

The report gives an overview of the laws that are supposed to prevent and punish human trafficking for forced labour and human-exploitation, as well as the existing court cases concerning the issue. The author of the report is Märta Johansson at Örebro University. 

Even though the question has been brought to the fore front lately there is still inadequacy and major challenges with prevention of forced labour. One of the report’s findings is that few prosecutions have been brought up. Most of the cases concern begging but few cases concern forced labour within industries like the construction industry, the hotel and restaurant industries or household services, even though government agencies have knowledge about the presence of forced labour and labour exploitation within these industries. 

Between the years 2004-2020 over 200 police reports concerning human trafficking for forced labour in Sweden were registered. Of these reports only four cases not concerning begging were taken to court. Since 2012 no cases have been brought forward concerning human trafficking for forced labour, except for those concerning begging. It is with the upmost importance that criminal and irresponsible businesses are prosecuted and that the victims, that often lack Swedish citizenship and are already in vulnerable situations, get justice”, says Endrit Mujaj, adviser at for the CBSS Task Force against Trafficking in Human Beings.

The report also shows that the courts often interpret the term “forced labour” from criterias that do not follow the international definition of forced labour. The convictions that exist for human trafficking for forced labour do not motivate why the victim participated in forced labour. Therefore, useful Swedish law enforcement is inadequate in this area. 

Great challenges remain in order to fight labour exploitation. The challenges are several: both to strengthen the courts’ capability to apply the exploitative term “forced labour”, and to ensure there are enough resources to investigate the crimes and to give support to the victims”, says Märta Johansson, author of the report.  

The report will be published today at 14:00. Read more about the report and how you can participate in the launch here. The event is in Swedish.

For more information, contact:

Endrit Mujaj, Adviser, CBSS Task Force against Trafficking in Human Beings

[email protected], 070 276 52 29

Paulina Ek, Communications Team Leader

[email protected], 070 176 40 12