Mongolian women in Sweden: Target of sexual exploitation and trafficking

Swedish daily newspaper "Dagens Nyheter"  run series of articles on migrants residing in Sweden.The series is titled "The Invisible" and one of the articles touched issues of Mongolian women migrants in Sweden.

Below is English translation of the article "Price for a job-Threats and Assaults"

• Sara forced into sex with the manager at the dry cleaner. Yoson get an order: swab the floors  wearing  only apron.
• Mongolian women are a growing group in the bottom layer of Stockholm's labor market. They endure poverty wages, threats, and abuse in the hunt for a decent life.

• "Sex is an implied condition for many Mongolians who want to work," said She holds, which is not able to tell us about all the dark for friends back home.

○ ○ ○

Sara understood immediately what will happen when owner of the laundry locks the door and comes up behind her. His hands are strong, she knows how his fingers will bite into her upper arms as he holds. The panic paralyzes, but after a while begin screaming. Sara is desperately trying to tell the man I'm married! Somewhere between the ironing board and the newly ironed shirts, she asks  God for help.

Afterwards they never talk about what had happened. Next day, Sara goes to work as usual  and  the manager  is acting as if nothing unusual has happened. A single  woman from Mongolia without any official permits is more afraid of the police rather than the man. Just a short official talk at the immigration office stands between her new life in Sweden and poverty in the capital Ulan Bator.

In addition, the manager promised to fix a work permit for Sara. If she just have a little patience and do not whine over pay and working hours, he should do what he can. Sara believes him. For a year, she works ten hours a day, six days a week for a monthly salary of 7,000 crowns which has handed in  a white envelope. Twenty-nine crowns per hour is better than zero kronor an hour, she repeats to herself.

Mongolian migrants arrive to Sweden every week. No one knows how many people live and work here right now, but several aid organizations and churches have noted the vulnerability and isolation of the ever-increasing group of Mongolian women.

- The single largest group of patients with us for several years has been the Mongols. Most are women. Often, they want help to make an appointment for the abortion, prenatal care or gynecology, says Sandra Dolietis, nurse at the Red Cross care agency for undocumented aliens in Stockholm.

The Mongolian women are often alone, sometimes with small children. They are well aware that their reasons to live in Sweden do not fit into the Migration Board's regulations. Unemployment, corruption and the hope of a better life are not sufficient grounds for asylum. Many ignore  these regulations entirely  to seek asylum. Those who are rejected will live on as undocumented.

- Because they do not apply for asylum, they can not get their children in kindergarten.We have encountered a couple of cases where the mother has left children as young as four year olds home alone all day to have the opportunity to work, says Sandra Dolietis.

Those who still choose to seek asylum have the right to work in Sweden while the asylum investigation is ongoing. But finding a job with a reputable employers is difficult.They require a coordination number from the Tax Agency, but authorities rarely give out coordination number if there is a certificate of employment. It becomes a vicious cycle, explains several volunteers.

Some people, often cleaners and kitchen staff, come to Sweden legally, with the help of work. The employers promise  Migration Board and the union to pay contractual remuneration. The real wage is often a different and considerably lower.

Mongols began to appear among the applications for a work about 2011, says Gesa Markusson, ombudsman for many years on Building Workers' Union, which organizes cleaners.

Property Employees notice a huge fear among newly arrived low-wage workers from poor countries. They seldom dare tell us about the conditions under which they actually live in Sweden.

- Many have borrowed a lot of money to buy a work or tourist visa and is completely at the mercy of their employers. Many simply turn a blind eye to their vulnerability and "stand out" because they can not come home empty-handed.

Mongolian women repeat the same story all the time, says Gesa Markusson:

- They are forced to have sex with the employer or the employer's customers to get their salary or retain his job.

Sara continues to work at the dry cleaner. When the laundry gets a new large customer and starts washing restaurant linen, the work days are longer. The manager continues to use  her body whenever he gets the opportunity. Sara turns a blind eye every time, trying to ignore his hands. She knows how strong they can be.

When a year has passed, she still has not not received the promised work permit. The boss wants a wife and decides to marry.

Sara quits her job at the laundry. A new Mongolian woman takes over her job.

The Asian restaurant on one of Stockholm's finest streets attracts leading businessmen and compatriots in exile. A man dressed in black with sturdy frames sweep through the dining room and drives the waitresses who are behind with the orders. This evening we serve a sophisticated dish with duck and seafood.
Behind a  solid wooden door is Suvdaa. She is the one who has prepared the food to the people she never sees. But they appreciate her food, she has heard from the other Mongols that eavesdropping at the keyhole. Suvdaa working 88 hours a week and earn between 28 and 30 crowns per hour.If she behaves. You can rest enough when you go to the toilet, her boss say. Otherwise it will be deducted from the salary.
- I am a slave of my time. A robot to do what you want with, she says, and sighs tired.
Sweden, the successful country with great schools and decent jobs, was not as she had imagined.
- When I came here I had no idea that there was a invisible community here, a parallel world where we have to earn to live here are forced to accept anything in order to exist.
The clock is approaching midnight and a police car roll slowly past on Main Street. Suvdaa draws the hood over his head. She is not afraid - but wary. Unlike the rest of Europe, Swedish police does not seem to chase undocumented as intense, she thinks.
- I ask myself every day if it is worth the price, to be here. However, no option is better for someone like me.
Suvdaa have something to be thankful for, she says, that she at least escaped sexual exploitation than Sara at the dry cleaner.
Or Yoson in Täby.

Yoson just know that there is a school in Täby her to clean up. The manager has sent a text message with the time and place and she go there late afternoon when the students  gone home. They clean together, Yoson and manager. It is important that it goes away, he says.
When they only have a few classrooms there, he shuts the door and takes out a bright yellow apron. The boss wants to Yoson to take off her clothes and swab the last floor naked with apron loose over her shoulders. She hesitates, but at the same time, she knows that the boss will not give in. Payment for cleaning work is in his pocket. And she needs the money.
Afterward, she ran as fast as she can. At the same time, she erases her boss's number from her phone. He continues to call to give her new assignment. Yoson answers no more.
The Swedish Migration Board has noted an increase in the number of suspected cases of trafficking in persons from Mongolia. Last year, officials discovered the work of ten cases of human trafficking where Mongolian nationals were the victims. Only Nigerian nationals was worse hit, with 24 suspected cases during 2014.
At the Red Cross care agency for paperless in Stockholm, the staff noted that Mongolian women are often more isolated than others.
- The isolation and having no official documents increases the risk of human trafficking. Often, moonlighting is the only way to earn a living. Then one easily ends up in a position of dependence and become even worse exploited, says nurse Sandra Dolietis.
Behind the locked apartment doors spread the rumor: the one that stands out for four years will automatically receive permanent residence permit in Sweden. There are grains of truth in the rumor. Anyone who earned at least 13,000 kronor a month for four years can get permanent residency.
But many Mongolians earn significantly less than that. And the promise of a residence permit does not apply to undocumented.
Gesa Markusson from Real Estate Employees Union says Mongolians often misunderstand what applies in Sweden.
- Since there is a large group of Mongols established in Sweden, they have difficulty getting information about their rights, unlike for example the Spanish-speaking migrants who often have a wide network even before they come to Sweden.
The pressure to succeed in Sweden is tough. For many in Mongolia, Sweden is a dreamland where everything is good and where everyone succeeds. A ticket with the tourist visa can cost 60,000 crowns. Work permits will cost money too often. Gesa Markusson says that those who lose their jobs in Sweden have two choices:
- Either go home to Mongolia empty-handed, or work black and risking to be used again.○ ○ ○She holds move freely between the pews in a NONCONFORMIST CHURCH in northern Stockholm and greet everyone who comes through the doors this Sunday morning. The smile is broad and heartfelt. The church has become her home, parishioners her only security. It's been almost a year since she read a newspaper ad about the cheap tourist visa to the Schengen countries. She called directly. Borrowed together the 35,000 crowns the corrupt embassy official wanted and bought a ticket to Stockholm. At customs they asked many questions, but She holds insisted on his well-rehearsed version of Stockholm holiday and came through. Now she lives inherent in a studio apartment overlooking a million programs in southern Stockholm. Tourist visa has expired long ago. Awaiting the asylum investigation, she takes extra work as a cleaner, but the work is risky for a Mongolian woman, she explains.
She holds tells how her Mongolian women are forced to have intercourse with his boss to get their reward.- Sex is an implied condition for many Mongolians who want to work, she says.Tears run down her cheeks now.It is difficult to speak of the dark, of the reality of the legal rights of migrant workers in Stockholm really is. Dreams, shame and ideal images stand in the way. She holds have become expert at keeping up the pretense.Old friends from Mongolia often hear of himself to her. Everyone wants to Sweden. She holds can not bring himself to tell the truth about what it really is. Clearly you should! She holds usually answer. Here are jobs for everyone, no corruption and no abuse of power.Sweden is fantastic."For real, what should I with a man?"
Shria from Mongolia looks genuinely puzzled. The words arouse immediate acclaim from her compatriots around the table at the Red Cross women's coffee shop in Stockholm.
"I get the best for yourself," says a woman who calls herself Sasha and leans his back straight against the wall. Men and their betrayal is one of her favorite topics of conversation. Sasha has not seen her husband in years, and she is happy. Life has taught her, she should stay far away from men.
Violent husbands are often the very reason that the women sitting here in Stockholm 700 mil from home.
National Center Against Violence in Mongolia estimate that one in three women in the country have been beaten by her husband. Many of those who try to start a new life in Europe and Sweden have fled the violence and oppression in the home, says Tserenchunt Byamba Ochir. She herself is one of them. Now she works as a project manager for the Swedish aid organization Talita in Ulan Bator. Talita helps abused women, both there and in Sweden.
The problem in Mongolia is that the beatings are often accepted by the environment, says Tserenchunt Byamba Ochir. Even relatives may think that the woman should bite the bullet and put up with being beaten - she is, after all, a roof over your head. Mongolia is a patriarchal society and the relatives sometimes find that the man has the right to strike. There is also no adequate legislation to protect women in Mongolia, says Tserenchunt Byamba Ochir. The issue of women's rights are missing on the political agenda.

Mongolia also has a small population: three million inhabitants. The fleeing within the country are often found and emergency accommodation available for battered women are temporary. The women have to leave them within 72 hours.
The women who flee to Sweden often know that their stories seldom suffice as grounds for asylum. They will be forced to live on the shadow side of society, having to hide. Yet the desire to create a new, better life so strong that they pay between 30,000 to 100,000 kron to corrupt officials on European embassies in Ulan Bator for a tourist visa.
Talitas aid workers look with despair how Mongolian women who have been strong enough to escape the violence and escape to Sweden often end up in an even worse repression here, where they have set up at six to get to work.
They end up out of the ashes of the fire, summarizes Talitas aid workers.
Few Swedes are aware of the hell that some Mongolian women live in our midst.
Few Swedes are aware of the hell that some Mongolian women live in our midst. As undocumented, they are rarely in contact with the authorities. A police report will probably lead to a return ticket home.
The living outside the social safety net must find other alliances to not stand alone. The women we encounter stick together and help each other. An afternoon tea with Sasha involves long periods of waiting when she fipplar with their phone and fixes occasional cleaning jobs and beds for new arrivals Mongols.
On the Mongolian site women reading news from home, looking for apartments in Stockholm - and warn each other of violent employers.
In today's DN story we tell about Mongolian women living with sexutnyttjande, 88-hour work weeks and miserable wages. Sweden, in the women's heads, a symbol of freedom and optimism, was something else, something dirtier.
Yet few are talking about giving up, to go home. Sasha finds that women in her situation have two choices: get a man or black work and earn their own money.
She herself chooses black job, every day of the week.



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