Facts about Human Trafficking


Human trafficking affects men, women, and children worldwide. It is the most profitable form of organized crime, alongside weapons and drugs. The profitability stems from the fact that individuals can be sold multiple times, and there is a demand in society. The price of a human body can be adjusted depending on circumstances, making it cheap or expensive based on market demand. Human trafficking for sexual exploitation generates a total revenue of seven billion dollars per year, according to the UN's estimate.

In addition to demand, human trafficking is a consequence of prevailing poverty and social vulnerability. Victims often come from poor countries with high unemployment rates. They are typically deceived into human trafficking, thinking they are seeking employment as a nanny or in the restaurant industry in another country. Upon arrival, they encounter entirely different circumstances than promised, with minimal opportunities to escape due to alleged debts to the traffickers who brought them to the new country. Some women are lured away by men promising marriage and a better future in another country. Many have children in their home countries that they need to support, creating significant pressure.

Traffickers control their victims through verbal abuse, threats, and violence. An effective control method is threatening harm to the victim's family in their home country. Often, women lack knowledge of laws and rights in the country they are in. They are often misled into believing that they are committing criminal acts by selling sex, making them fearful of any contact with authorities.

Numerous victims

Human trafficking is a clandestine activity, and it is challenging to determine how many people are affected. The UN estimates that approximately four million people fall victim to human trafficking worldwide each year. Around 1.2 million of these are children, i.e., individuals under 18 years old. According to the UN's "Global report on trafficking in persons," which compiles statistics from 155 countries, human trafficking for sexual purposes constitutes 79% of exploitation.

The situation in Sweden

According to statistics from the Civil Platform Sweden against Human Trafficking for 2019, 177 individuals in Sweden who have been in various forms of human trafficking or have been affected by it received support. The majority, about 73%, were subjected to human trafficking for sexual purposes. Many of the victims come from Nigeria (20%) and Romania (approximately 10%). Almost a quarter of all victims have been exploited in multiple countries, and more than 77% have been subjected to human trafficking for more than a year.

In Sweden, as globally, women constitute the majority of those falling victim to human trafficking. According to the Platform's statistics for 2019, 90% of the victims were women, and about 9% were children. However, there is a significant dark figure in this statistic, as the number of discovered victims largely depends on the resources invested in investigative work.

The situation in Malmö

In 2020, the regional coordinators against human trafficking in the South region (Evonhuset, Malmö city) worked on 70 cases related to suspected human trafficking or human exploitation. Of these, 50 individuals were women, 16 men, and 4 were children. Thirty-two of these cases involved sexual exploitation, while others were related to begging, labor exploitation, or exploitation in criminal activities.