Sweden, currently holding the EU Presidency, is calling for a strengthening of international cooperation and coordinated action to combat the increasing global problem of prostitution and human trafficking for sexual purposes. Sweden is calling upon other EU countries and the international community to adopt even more effective measures to combat this serious violation of human rights, and of individuals human dignity, this barrier to social equality and gender equality.
Sweden regards trafficking and prostitution as intrinsically linked and Sweden was the first country in the world to introduce a law (1999) criminalizing the purchase of sexual services.
In July 2008, the Government confirmed its commitment to action by adopting an Action Plan against prostitution and human trafficking for sexual purposes and committed SEK 213 million to the introduction of 36 measures up to 2010. The Action Plan covers five priority areas: greater protection and support for people at risk and for victims, a stronger emphasis on preventive work, higher standards and greater efficiency in the justice system, increased national and international cooperation, and educational and awareness campaigns.
The consensus among Swedish experts is that efforts to combat prostitution and human trafficking must take into account judicial, social and gender perspectives and be based on the human rights principle. Societies that claim to defend principles of legal, political, economic and social equality cannot allow human trafficking to flourish. The eventual elimination of human trafficking is achievable.