"They ran cars down to refugee camps in Milan, based on demand. They drove around and asked people if they were willing to pay for a lift up to Scandinavia," prosecutors Isabelle Bjursten said, as quoted by Finnish newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet.
The indictment covers at least 15 occasions, where up to 170 people paid for transportation from Milan to Sweden. The "fare" was around 500 euros per person, whereas children rode free of charge.
Cars, minibuses and campers filled to the brim were used by the culprits. In several cases, cars were filled to the limit. In two reported cases, 17 and 20 people were squeezed into a camper designed to accommodate only five passengers. Several former passengers were called as witnesses in the trial.
Most of the network's customers were refugees who had come to Europe from Syria. And since most of the "shipments" were stopped before they reached Swedish soil, it is not known where the refugees found themselves.
The charges are in many ways unusual. The men are suspected to have been engaged in smuggling as a regular business. According to the prosecution, they used a building in Vendelsö, Sweden, which they referred to as "office."
Sweden started to investigate human trafficking after police in Germany, Denmark and Austria encountered a number of Swedish-registered cars with Syrian refugees as passengers. Since the refugees lacked valid passports and residence permits, the drivers were subsequently convicted of human trafficking in the countries where the cars were stopped.