By Beatrice Ask, Special for CNN
Editor's Note: Beatrice Ask is Sweden's Minister for Justice and Home Affairs.
Stockholm, Sweden – In 1999 Sweden became the first country in the world to criminalize the purchase, but not the sale, of sexual services. Over the years the interest from abroad about our legislation has grown, mainly because we can see a clear link between prostitution and human trafficking.
Sweden has had a steady stream of visitors coming to study the Swedish example and the effects we have seen from it. We have welcomed parliamentarians and other politicians, experts and scholars and representatives from interest groups. Norway and Iceland, for example, now have their own criminalization of the purchase of sexual services. I am pleased that more countries are considering following the Swedish example.
The primary factor that maintains prostitution and human trafficking is the demand for these services, ie. that people buy sex. Efforts to counteract demand are therefore of fundamental importance.
The Swedish ban on the purchase of sexual services has recently been subject to an evaluation. According to the findings of the government-appointed evaluator, prostitution in Sweden has not increased since the introduction of the ban and street prostitution has been halved. Although the number of foreign women involved in prostitution in Sweden seems to have increased during the years, the increase is not as big as in neighboring countries.
The evaluator also concluded that prostitution where the first contact is made via the internet is more prevalent in our neighboring countries and that the Swedish ban has not caused street prostitution to move online.
Nor is there any information that suggests that prostitutes formerly exploited on the streets are now involved in indoor prostitution.
The evaluator also noted that prohibiting the purchase of sexual services has had a normative effect and that there is now in Sweden strong support for the ban.
Furthermore, the police, as well as social workers, state that criminal groups that sell women for sexual purposes view Sweden as a poor market. They choose not to establish themselves in Sweden because of our legislation. The few cases that were discovered were of significantly lesser scope than in other countries.
According to the National Criminal Police, it is clear that the ban against the purchase of sexual services acts as a barrier to human traffickers and procurers considering establishing themselves in Sweden.
Human trafficking is, as we are all aware, a growing worldwide problem. No country can solely, through its own national measures, successfully combat human trafficking. International cooperation and sharing best practices is of the utmost importance.
So, after 12 years with a law prohibiting the purchase of sexual services, we can establish that in Sweden the ban is of great value in fighting prostitution and human trafficking. It is certainly not a solution that takes care of all problems at once, but it is one step on the way. Criminalization can never be more than a complement for broader social measures which are necessary to combat and prevent prostitution.
It is my hope that other nations will consider following the path that Sweden has chosen to take on this matter. Every country must find legislation which best suits its legal system - but I hope that more countries will consider making efforts to decrease the demand for sexual services.
If so, then I think we can avoid young girls and boys being exploited by human traffickers.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Beatrice Ask.
Related: Two countries, different approaches to battling sex trafficking
This BBC article would provide for a new and different dimensiton to the issue you have been tracking. Your followup on the Ugandan Colonel selling women into slavery in Iraq qould pressure president Museveni to do something: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-12887018
It's interesting that she seems to view women as the only prostitutes. Wasn't there a case a while back where dozens of Brazilian men ended up in Europe under sex trafficking conditions, when they thought they were just there to do work? I think she should take a more gender neutral approach to have more credibility.
Anytime women, in particular, discuss issues pertaining to women, someone, usually a man uses the word 'credibility'. You have an entire article which is logical, valid and full of excellent concepts and someone has to question it's credibility because men are not the focal point??
I think Sweden is an excellent example to be followed and let's face it, prostitution and exploitation predominantly affects women and girls.
This is ridiculous and misleading. One thing is human trafficking and another is prostitution.
Prostitution should be legal. If you take aside the any moralist misgivings on sex outside of marriage, then it is simply a service provided by one willing party to another. Does it have risks? Should it be regulated to protect the health and safety of those practicing the profession? Yes, of course! Like all professions.
Most prostitutes are not being coerced into their profession. It is a professional choice based on the much higher income unskilled women (and men) can earn.
Then there is human trafficking, which is actually two separate issues. We must distinguish between trafficking that results in coercion, and trafficking were the parties are willing. The first is indeed a heinous crime, the later is an immigration laws violation.
How can you prevent coercion in sexual services? Simple. Legalize prostitution and establish clear requirements for brothels and sex workers. Regulators can then perform surprise visits, interview prostitutes, perform health checks and demand that prostitutes must live outside of the brothel in independent housing.
I actually am curious. Why do you state prostitution must be “combated and prevented”? What is the moral argument you are using for this Ms. Ask? Is consensual sex a dirty thing? Does it become dirty because a person consents to it for money? Why? Do you really believe all people share your values?
Clearly Swedish prostitutes can chose to live on the welfare state yet somehow they chose not to. Why is that? What gives you the right to question their choice?
While the definitions of each are different. Your post is laced with ignorance. Did you know that 70% of prostitutes were victims of incest as a child and 85% of prostitutes AND clients reported a history of sexual abuse in childhood? Why they might be going into the business based on their own free will, what many of them don't realize is their past is driving them toward this type of future. Also, Prostitutes morality rate is 40x higher then the national average. Are you telling me that a girl wakes up one morning and says: "I want to be a prostitute when I grow up?" I doubt it. But our country and others have glorified this position. I don't care about religion or morality here. The things is most prostitutes are doing because they no or feel they have no alternative. They are lacking stability in their lives and often were victims of abuse (verbal, physical). Also, 90% of prostitutes said if they could, they would leave the business. Your ignorance is understandable. With some time and research you would realize there is more to the issue then meets the eye. Don't believe me? Check out these website.
Genderberg – Population More Everyday – http://www.genderberg.com/phpNuke/modules.php?name=FAQ&myfaq=yes&id_cat=2&categories=Prostitution+FAQf
Prostitution Research & Education – http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/
Rape is – http://www.rapeis.org/activism/prostitution/prostitutionfacts.html
Whisper Oral History Project
Your argument is completely illogical and does not answer my critique. To begin with, under your logic a sexually abused person cannot exercise their sexuality or free will further on in life because it has become “impaired”.
What you are saying is that you want to protect prostitutes from themselves because they are “too damaged” to know what is good for them. That sounds terribly patronizing. You could apply similar nanny arguments the clinically obese, daredevils, the serially promiscuous, or anybody who lives a lifestyle that you consider to be immoral or “wrong”.
Once again, prostitutes are free to choose their profession (they are abuse victims when they do not have that option to choose; that would be human trafficking). Thus, the goal of regulation should be to make sure that all prostitutes involved in this profession are there of their own free will and that their working conditions meet certain work health safety standards.
Most of the dangers and stigma that surround prostitution come from the fact that it is pushed into a black market. All you are doing is making sure that the activity continues in a more dangerous, less regulated environment
Kristine, you are right on. Human trafficking is inextricably tied to the sex trade. Prostitution in a perfect world would be safe and legal between consenting adults, but the reality is (and the statistics bear this out) is that prostitution is overwhelmingly the result of abuse and coercion from a very young age.
Equivocation, your storybook view of the working girl hooker who makes a rational decision to enter the sex trade to make a lot of money is based on a handful of outlying examples (and lots of bad movies).
I am aware that most prositutes are not high-end call girls who make 6 digit incomes (though there are more than you think). For most women, it is about earning more money than they would earn working at McDonald's or in a janitorial position (their other alternatives). You are correct in that a lot of these women have troubled pasts, low self-esteem, and/or are drug addicts. This however does not take away their free will when chosing their profession, and for the most part (and particularly in Europe) they could quit at any time.
Let me give an example to illustrate my point.... In Mexico there is a particularly nasty profession; sewer divers. These are highly trained professional scuba divers who dive into large sewer pipes to clear out clogs and review the pipes for structural integrity. It is an extremely dangerous job, very much unsanitary, but also very much NECESSARY. There are many safety measures taken when they perform their job, so accidents are rare and they rarely contract a disease. When accidents do happen, they have full medical coverage and life insurance. When interviewed, these divers will tell you that they hate diving in human excrement, but that over time they grow accustomed to it. They chose their profession because the pay is very, very good (with regards to other opportunities available to these men).
I view prostitution in a very similar way. I do believe it is a valuable service. I also believe that it is a nasty job, however there are people who do not mind, and who find that the money compensates for it. If there are people willing to do it I have absolutely no business preventing them from doing so.
Like the divers, my only concern would be that women know what they are getting into, that they be free to quit whenever they want and that the job be performed in as safe and hygenic conditions as possible given the nature of the job. This can best be done through legalization. Legalization means prostitutes can call on the police for protection. It also means mandatory visits to health clinics that can detect abuse.
Again, the German example is by far the best.
PS: As to income. Take very the very low end of pricing. 10 clients per day x 50 euros x 250 days = 125k. Take away the pimps that rob them and even these women would be earning a very decent income. I will not even do the calculation for high end escorts.
i understood the point to be that to date it is the only solution that has worked. your idea, which has been tried numerous times, hasnt. maybe put your own thought process through a purge? following this suggests you are interested so it would be nice to think your integrity sits on the decent side of the fence.
Says who? How do you measure success? The success of regulating prostitution is its elimination? Obvisously not!
Success at regulating prostitution involves it ocurring in a safe enviornment. There are dozens of examples of countries that have at different points successfully regulated prostitution through legalization. Look no further than Germany.
A real man who wishes to start a family can get married and raise children. He can have normal adult romantic life while working at raising his children so that they have respect for themselves and others. He can preserve the fidelity of his marriage, so that an expensive heartbreaking divorce does not shatter the peace of his children and spouse, and inflict emotional scars that can last for decades. On the contrary, a male who pays a woman for sex is exploiting her – by means of a cash amount, he seeks to control her body. He does not respect her – he is just using her. Such a male is NOT a real man – he is a selfish child. Furthermore, re-defining prostitution as a 'profession', or legalizing it, or regulating it, or sanitizing it has never changed the fact that by its very nature, it constitutes exploitation of women. Every woman *was* someone's child at one time. Who would endorse such a dehumanizing practice? Those who do give tacit approval to the countless mobs and gangs who round up countless tens of thousands of vulnerable young women every year and enslave them to a life of degradation. Equivocation: you are already paying the crippling social and financial costs of such exploitation.
Thank you for illustrating my point. You believe prostitution is bad because you also believe that sex outside of marriage is bad. I do not share your values on this point.
Thumbs-up! I totally agree with you. You're decent, educated, wise and you fully understood the article. Every woman is a daughter, whoever endorses her to sell sexual services is sick. Imagine if your daughter is engaged in selling sex, how would you feel? As a dad, as a mom, as parents, would you be happy?
By the way, it all comes down to the upbringing you got from your parents. I like your comment, very enlightening!
I like your comment. Thank you for being a voice of sanity here. Naturally, anyone who actually believes in family is suspicious in their eyes. I would personally like to be spared from "progressive" ideas, insisting that human slavery is good. There is no such thing as a prostitute that earns her own money. They are all, without exceptions, used and abused in countless ways. And to express here, in public, beliefs that human slave owners should have the freedom to ply their trade - is beyond sick.
We live in society where freedom to chose partners is fully accepted. There are no laws prohibiting relations among consenting adults. Therefore, what is the need for paying? The only reason that comes to mind is perversity. Some people may not be interested in sex with consenting adults, but a sex with slaves. It seems that the more liberated women became, that may not be what men are looking for. They are looking for women that are forced into sex. No wonder they are defending the practice so much.
Brilliant comment! kudos
Hmmm, I see what you are saying. I think what the article needs is to better define and make more explicit the link between sex trafficking and prostitution–which is what I think they were trying to get at implicitly.
If there is a clear ban on sex trafficking, then, supposedly (and seems to be working to an extent, according to the article) fewer women would be introduced in the sex market, thus being used as "prostitutes." Not all the prostitutes go on to that market based on free will (this was not explicitly discussed in the article), as you know. It then makes sense that if we limit sex trafficking we'd be also reducing the market for prostitution.
I agree Laurah,
The article would be fine if it just pointed out that some prostitutes are coerced and that there should be ways to protect them.
Unfortunately, this is no mistake. The author, Ms. Ash, is a well known anti-prostitution crusader, and an all around sex inquisitor. For example, she sponsored a law that states that a drunk woman cannot give consent to sex. In Sweden today, you can literally have a bottle of wine with your WIFE, get drunk, have sex and wake up the next morning charged with rape. It even gets better, because she is also championing a little ammendment which essentially makes it unnecessary for a "raped" woman to press charges. The state would be able to judge if rape ocurred and can press charges for the "victim". This literally could mean, you can get drunk with your wife, have sex and wake up charged with rape even though your wife defends you.
Sounds silly? Well it is. Ms. Ash is a very silly woman.
You are the one who is ridiculous because you can't appreciate a country that's doing something to prevent this problem and other problems related to this from spreading like virus. Why can't you appreciate what Sweden has done? It's their LAW, RESPECT THEIR CHOICE ALSO.
This is not about respecting the "swedish people's choice". There is a huge amount of people who want to legalize sex purchase in Sweden, simply because it should be every persons right to decide over his or her body. Beatrice Ask is fairly known in Sweden for expressing ignorant statements like the ones we see here. She supports the idea of an international identity register, and is said to "trust" other countries in their handling of such registers. She is an indirect danger to the swedish people, who is supportive of the "big brother" community model.
So if Sweden legalized slavery you not only would SUPPORT it you would DEFEND it as well?
It IS about respecting law. You are arguing for LEGALIZING purchase of sex. You are actually arguing for LEGALIZING SLAVERY. Enough pretending that it is anything else but a slavery. Stop arguing for the freedom of slave owners, and find a way to free up every woman who is forced into selling herself. These women earn only FOOD. They do not have a penny of their own, no passports, and nobody to turn to. Why do not you try to FIX THAT, before making it safe for slave owners to practice their trade, make billions in profits. I am trully sick of people who are so "progressive" and "liberal" and all that is nice, except when it comes to defending depravity and slavery. Then they want "freedom" FOR slave owners. Victims be damned.
"It IS about respecting law. You are arguing for LEGALIZING purchase of sex. You are actually arguing for LEGALIZING SLAVERY. " = Prostitution =/ Slavery – Ban the slavery, legalize the prostitution
Equivocation, I agree with you. Prostitution that is not forced upon a person, should be legalized. I live in Sweden myself and the latest news is that it may become illegal for swedes to purchase sexual services in other countries as well. I personally wouldn't buy sex, but it's so ridiculous that all forms of prostitution is seen as horrible and wrong.
You are being confused. Prostitution, especially where it is legal, is THE main enabler of human trafficking in human beings for sexual slavery. As any policeman can tell you, you can enter any bar in major US city, and you will see women working for sex slave owners. They are brought from other countries, their passports taken from them, they are driven to and from places with no freedom. Why do not they do something? Because these WOMEN will be prosecuted, end up in jail, and then in the waiting arms of their owners. Many disappear without trace, if their minders do not trust them. The traffickers need not worry about the law, and they often take people from Western countries into poor Asian countries for "sex tourism", where the depraved individuals can engage in sex with children while authorities turn their heads. Why? Because the traffickers are "businessmen" that get the protection from their embassies, and are untouchable. You should not NAIVELY believe that a woman selling sex services is a free agent, and works for herself. Consentual sex without renumeration is one thing. Once money is involved, women are victims in 90% of cases. Going after the customers is the best way to dry up the trafficking business. Of course, there will be always sleazy operations willing to host traffickers and their slaves. But the CUSTOMERS can get in trouble if such a woman contacts law enforcement, and has a chance of getting back home.
The entire "they took their passports away" argument is terribly silly and too often repeated. Since when does a woman need a passport to ask for help from the hundreds of police officers who patrol the red light districts of every European city? How does that prevent her from running away first chance she gets?
Have you ever been to the Barcelona ramblas? Prostitutes of all nationalities are standing 3 meters aways from police officers. They are constantly visited by social workers.... and yet very few of them make any attempt to get "help to return home".
You may not agree with it and it may seen disgusting to your own values. However, most of these women have chosen this profession. You should respect that.
You are wrong in almost all your facts.# 1 if you go to a bar in any major city in the U.S. will most likely NOT see a sex slave,
You are desperately trying to solve one problem by outlawing an unrelated issue, being quite Swedish in the process. You outlaw (soft) drugs and then wonder why seven kids in Gällivare (population 17,000) die in a single year after consuming mail-ordered concoctions. Not an exception, by the way. Why have your country's restrictive alcohol policies resulted in a nation of drunks? If you really care about human trafficking, then gather your wits and start doing something about precisely that: human trafficking. Sweden's overly simplistic reaction is to outlaw anything deemed undesirable. The problem is then considered solved. Originality in thoughts and action are non-existent in Sweden. You adhere to silly notions of political correctness that guide your ineffective policies. Get stuff above board rather than stick your unmentionables under the carpet – emulate countries like Portugal and the Netherlands that actually try and succeed to chart societal ills and deal with them without affecting anyone's freedoms. I lived in Sweden for almost three years and have never felt so oppressed in my life. I escaped that Nordic straitjacket and am now free once more though still pity the poor souls up north who are being told what to think by their nanny state and its countless know-it-all, know-it-better agents.
You are not real bright
I think you meant to enunciate
– You "really" are not bright -
Sidey is that you?!
Jackass! Nail the johns, not the pros.
There is no arguing your lapidary well-rounded logical arguments....
Legalize drugs and take out the criminal. The same thing applies here. If you legalize local prostitution you make it all that harder for criminals to traffic humans without greater exposure to actual law enforcement. Is it kidnapping? Not if she is willing to sell her soul. Oh wait, no such thing? Make up your mind stupid humans...Stupid white American women sell themselves as strippers to Sheiks in Saudi all the damn time.
Making a man, who needs sex, a criminal because of it, or because of his lacking of social skills, is obscene. He will become even more likely to take by force that which he can't even get with a modest payment for company and time. Women, you over estimate the value of your vagina.
The problem with your argument is that it pretends that the sex act is just like any other job if you get paid for it. It completely ignores the general worldwide stigma on getting paid for sex and the double standard that is applied to women versus men doing sex work. Your argument would work if sex were seen as not much different from eating, and a prostitute was not much different from a cook. Some men may see sex this way but it's not, especially for women, and the truth is that this is still a world where women who have lots of sex are bad and men who have lots of sex are good, or at least, ok. This worldwide stigma attached to sex work is precisely why prostitution, organized crime and human trafficking go together.
So the "danger" and "risk" that you talk about isn't merely from disease, but from criminals who employ sex workers who can be extremely abusive, customers who come and feel it's ok for them to purchase a prostitute's services, but for example that he is entitled to abuse/punish the person he is paying, psychologically or physically. Almost no dad ever wants his little girl to grow up to be a prostitute.
Male and female psychology around sex is very different, and therefore the sexual politics is different. Sex work is simply not just any other job, and you cannot talk about it without also talking about society, psychology, gender disparity and sexual power politics. Those attitudes are highly entrenched and denigrating them as prudish or stupid won't make them go away. So it is not possible to reduce this problem to a simple matter of freedom to choose one's own profession.
No statistics, nothing. Does cancer have a cure ? There is a demand for a cure but no medicine. In Marketing it is known that the product or service find its market or the whole thing collapse. So, what is the point to have a service that is a crime to buy ? What about heroine and cocaine ? What about the women who freely offer the service ? What is the percentage of persons who are coerced into prostitution ?
The percentage of persons who are coerced into prostitution is 40% and mostly they are from Africa countries
This World is getting stupid every day. I could not believe that a country `civilized` as Sweden could have such a law belonging centuries ago. As the penalty do they emasculate the clients, I wonder?
As far as I know, sex is a human need. It must somehow be satisfied (or repressed) to have a decent life. Without prostitution, which is one of the oldest occupations, a considerable part of the society could not satisfy their basic instincts. Nearly half of the members of the societies are single all around the World and dealing with a girlfriend/boyfriend is a nightmare in this modern ages. So, professional sexual services must be provided somehow. This law alone could be the main reason of high suicide rates in Sweden.
Here is what they do... Open a church & patrons can buy services via an "offering" After all the laws do not regulate what A church may practice or Regulate how Clergy perform their duties right?
You are living in the past. Sex slavery deprives women from any freedom. Victims are brought from many countries, their passports taken, and subjected to abuse of every kind.
Today, people can do what they want with their sexual life. Provided they do not turn it into commerce. Once commercialized, sorry to inform you, this trade is subject to regulation. Especially when slaves are used to make money to their owners. Please wake up, and figure it out.
Getting married IS commerce
I'm certain that a lot of Swedes are now traveling to Denmark to get some. By making it illegal, Sweden is exporting a lot of it's domestic prostitution customers to other countries. I would not be surprised if it also exports prostitutes themselves. Hey nothing better than dumping your social problems on others...
The west has emasculated men, cut your balls off, basically, and you wonder why the Middle East, a male dominated society, resists western culture? Who are the real pussies...?
Only a man would say something like that.
When f3m1n1st gender bias has been run to ground, we may hear the truth about this subject for the first time. But not before.
The "Swedish model" as we like to call it, can only function in Scandinavia. This is because in Sweden, females are by default always considered victims. Men, on the other hand, are always considered perpetrators. This is why the absurd position of allowing prostitutes to walk up and down Malmskillnadsgatan in Stockholm and ply their legal trade to men who immediately break the law if they agree with the prostitute. In most civilized countries, this is called entrapment. But it is not so in Sweden because females are victims. And Beatrice Ask is a horrible person who recommended that all people "accused" of sexual misdemeanors should be sent a letter to their home in a specially colored envelope so that all their neighbors know of their (not yet proven in a court of law) "crime".
Sweden is a country that obsessively taxes it's citizens... except prostitutes. Female prostitutes can work their trade – tax free (and here I'm talking about a 55% marginal tax plus a 25% federal tax that kicks in when you earn over $30k / year). They miss out on pension contributions but everyone gets a fairly generous minimum amount. They get all the social benefits as well – unemployment and housing stipends.
Sad to say, but the Swedish model is non-functioning. It puts the prostitutes in a risky situation since any potential customer is now more likely to worry about being caught (no regulars, increased potential for violence, etc.). In the end, it's just not fair.
So in short the state provides for all their needs , like Food, Shelter, Clothing & such via a welfare State? This takes the burden off Johns & the hookers can now give away all the sex they want? In short I can sleep with every woman in Sweden FREE OF CHARGE! So much for the Sex outside marriage crowds faith in this law that promotes being a slut.
Yes, depraved individuals may not find it fair that the sex slavery is off limits. Sure, life is unfair. But for those countless young girls that are snatched from their countries by phoney agencies promising work abroad, this is a way out. When caught they are not going to be put in jail, no questions asked. And after being freed, tossed right back into the hands of their owners. They can ask for assistance to get back to their countries, because they have committed no crime.
Wake up, and stand up for victims. For those who want sex, in this modern time, why cannot they find it without resorting to paying for it? Let them get all the sex they want in a free society, with partners that are free to chose. Not poor slave girls that want to go home. Shame on everyone who is not disguisted by this business, and who does not have an ounce of heart to save these poor children.
Really? "Trafficked" prostitutes just want to go home?
Then how come Sweden and other European countries are offering prostitutes without residency permits 6 months visas to stay in the country? Why do these trafficked individuals accept these residency permits? Don't these women want to go home as soon as possible? Could it be that many of these prostitutes just wanted to emigrate and when caught claim to be victims just so they can get visas?
I am certain there are women who are trafficked, but you are not helping them by driving prostitution into the blackmarket. Quite the opposite. In fact, you should be ashamed of yourself for using real suffering to promote your personal moral and political agenda.
Most hos are doin it because they LIKE too
Law can never replace morality. When society teaches people that they don't have to be slaves to their sexual urges, and when it teaches them that their actions have consequences that extend beyond themselves, and that viewing people as objects is destructive both to the viewed and the viewer, then prostitution will naturally decline.
Yes it can. Slam all those who engage in illicit commerce, as they feed human trafficking of innocent children. Slam them hard, and slam then good. Their morality and sexual urges are of no interest to anyone. Today, they are free to do whatever they please with willing partners. But once money is involved, crime is around the corner. And today, it is an INDUSTRY, fueled by poverty, and the depravity of some.
The idear that sex is immoral is the problem in the first place....kidnapping is a crime already. Rape is a crime. A woman who willingly wants to offer herself up to a man who needs sex as part of being a human being, and is willing to pay for it because the complexity, hassle, investment of time and money to actually DATE a woman are simply more than many men can cope with due to an economy that favors wealth over work...well...go shove a pineapple up your arse.
Sounds like you're talking about yourself. I suggest taking a good hard look in the mirror and figure out what's wrong and try to fix it rather than giving up and paying for what would be a lot more rewarding with someone who loves you.
Legalizing it is more like a cover up and provides more opportunity for it to carry on. Criminalization is like putting out an arrest warrant but chasing up fickle traces, There has to be something else that can be done and I believe it goes deeper all the way to the family, their principles, their status both in society and financially because these major factors lead to desperation and temptation to be lured by some promising boyfriend or job opportunity.
Separate morality and commerce, please. The deeply boring moralizing is the reason we do not have effective laws protecting the victims. How many prostitutes can claim that they work for themselves, and keep their money? And when the sellers of human flesh bring someone's children from another country posing to be legitimate employment agency, what do you think they deserve? And knowing full well that the women they are about to buy are the victims of abuse, if not outright slaves, do you really think that it is the "morals" that will prevent the depraved individual from engaging in this "commerce". No, the only way to make them think twice is to slam them, and hard. They should know the law, and respect it. But slimey people always learn only the hard way.
The Scandinavian countries are small.
This article should provide also the following information: Sweden is a country with an enourmous rate of rapes, is this related to this nonsense prostitution law? Nobody knows the answer but it would be very interesting to know accurate data about the almost everyday rapes that happen in Sweden I can tell you because I lived there and everybody knows this fact: rapes and crazy-people-attacking-others are everyday news there....because when you try to render humans into submission one way or another it gets back at you: Sex is wonderful and if a woman wants to have sex in exchange for money nothing wrong with that
-why is it fair that only the good looking get all the sex they want?
if your answer is: that's natural law well it is also natural law that the weak and sick die very soon and you don't feel comfortable with that natural law do you?
-why is it fair that a man over 50 cannot have sex nevermore with a girl of 20 for example? Most of the males over 50 cannot get a girl under 25 if there is no prostitution.
-why is it fair that a female can get paid for cleaning a bathroom but not get paid to have sex if that's what SHE prefers?
come on people stop lyiing to yourselves: sex is wonderful and prostitution is just another form of sex
Get married to get more sex....Respect Sweden's LAW, at least they're doing something unlike you who's just here to criticize. Do something. If your daughter will be a prostitute, we'll see how you really feel.
To use the "how would you feel if it was your daughter" is the same as saying how would you feel if your son was an alcoholic. Its irrelevant and just plain outright naive. Sweden has criminalized one act after another in the last few years. Its has nothing to do with the rights of women. Its only a reflection of how much power the Government has allowed itself to interfere with the private lives of others. All it has done is drive prostitution underground and given the real traffickers more free rein.... Sweden is losing touch with reality.
And BTW, if you get married, you are more likely to use the services of a prostitute..
@Phil "If you're married you're more likely to use a prostitute"? Cite source, please.
Asking "how would you feel if it was your daughter" is a perfectly valid way to frame the situation to help find out what someone's personal feelings about it are. I've known plenty of men who go to strip clubs or who would buy sex from a prostitute but if their own daughter, sister, mother, or wife did sex work they'd be ashamed or enraged. That is a typical double standard, and yet a lot of men don't accept that there is something really wrong with that. But it's a reality, and this is precisely why sex work is not the same as any other work. Sex is different because of cross-cultural ideas about gender-based roles and duties which are rooted in biological differences between men and women. You cannot talk about this issue in a gender-neutral way; if you try, you are living in a fantasy land, yes even if we are talking about gay male prostitutes.
Sex is not an individual human need in the sense of an individual doesn't need it to stay alive, like shelter, food or water, like a lot of men on here are commenting One does not have a right to have sex. One may be very sad without it but one has no right to have it and that means one has no right to demand it from anyone else or to demand that one be provided a way to get it from someone else.
I'm not arguing either for or against legalized prostitution or any other kind of sex work, I just think most people commenting are completely unrealistic in their ideas about it.
What a strange article. Typical short term fix that never fixes a problem for the long term.
What is the real issue of the article anyway? It seems very hazy – are we talking about the act of prostitution? Or is it human trafficking? I can certainly say there would be very little human trafficking into a third world country yet there will be prostitution in that country. So should that country adopt the Swedish Model? A country should come up with its own model that adopts that nations beliefs, morals, culture etc. Not just adopt the Scandinavian way. Meh! Like I said, typical short term fix for a long term issue and that never works. Its like putting a band aid over a bleeding wound.
Poorly written article with weak logic based on one narrow person's (probably well intended) ambitions that have gone fanatic and political. pareja is the one on this page that has made any logical sense. Everyone can see that sex slavery and trafficking of unwilling victims (women and children) is a terrible problem, while safe, consensual sex with the exchange of local currency is a financial benefit to someone who might otherwise be unemployed. Let us all be offended by and activated against sex slavery and abuse, but there is no reason for any of us to be offended by what consenting adults do in privacy. Until righteous heads of state effectively replace the mutual need/benefit (economic for uncomplicated and therapeutic physical fulfillment) with something "better", they should do their real job which is to administer to the benefit of all the public–not simply mandate for the good of themselves, their business bedpartners, and the self-righteous. We ALL need more FACTS in order to solve REAL problems. We cannot allow righteous fanaticism to cloud the issue of very real and serious crimes against humanity. At least Sweden is helping victims, not just deporting them back into the cycle. Humanize immigration law, 'tax' and monitor "health services" and use the proceeds to help unwilling trafficking victims and sex slaves. If government cannot be involved in the unholy taxing of adult health services, then it surely should not be profiting by taxing cigarettes and vodka (and weapons!).
I am disguisted. Let consentual adults do whatever they please, but commerce is something else. Once engaged in commerce, society has the right to regulate. Where there is money to be made using human beings, there will be always enough criminal minded who will do it. Time to put the foot down, as the dangers to thousands upon thousands of innocent victims is not something modern societies can live with. People who get all in tizzy over "human rights abuses" around the world, and some dictators brutalizing their own citizens, are more then willing to justify their own depravity abusing women, children and boys. Trully sick. Laws against the PAYING, "freedom loving", "human rights supporting" hypocrite need to slam them, expose them, put their pictures in public. And humanize their victims, who may get a chance to go home.
When you allow sex to run you, you're not in control, sex is in control affecting your decisions which affect your loved ones if you know what it is to love people rather than view them as objects to gratify your sexual urges. If people knew to love and respect and be kind to themselves and one another the concept and practice of any form of slavery would not exist.
perhaps one pf the most naive and stupidest statements l have ever seen in recent times.....
The swedish solution does not solve anything – it is just another example of the swedish ultra-controlling society – what a lot may not know is that in sweden you can not buy beer, wine or alkohol in an ordinary supermarket – instead it is controlled via Systembolaget – a state controlled chain of outlets – which control ALL alkohol sale in Sweden – and if for any reason it is noticed that your alkohol consumption exceeds that which society deems acceptable then you will be contacted for a "consultation" about your "problem". To see the scare tactics used by Sweden as far as alkohol is concerned see Systembolagets "report" on what would happen if their monopoly is broken see this link ttp://www.systembolagetkampanj.se/forskarrapport_en/
Result of the monopoly is just that swedes drink more homebrew than rest of scandinavia – and both swedes (and norwegians) go on booze cruises to Denmark – in fact this is so common that danes have jokingly say that to keep Denmark clean and tidy all danes should do the good deed and take a swede to the nearest ferry.
Yes – forcing anyone into prostitution is definately NOT acceptable – but thinking that the swedish model solves ANYTHING is naive beyond belief.
To the Swedes, Never mind what other people says, your idea is the BEST. Continue ! I wish more countries would adopt this illegal purchase of sex. This instantly converts every woman or man an undercover agent.
II agree. Making the consumer responsible is ultimately the way to counter sexual traffic. This is simply addressing supply and demand OR should that be demand and supply.
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As a dane, i never would aprove the swedish policy, it only makes the problem hundred times worse.
Just like it has never solved the problem with narcotics that they are illegal, only given the criminals a better maket and more profit, the same thing with prostitution. It is just hidden away, on the internet ot locked up in secret places and controlled by mafia, the poor girls ae now much weaker, because they need pimps to protect them against the police, and their customers can't help them if they see something wrong.
I have reported under-age prostitution i found on the internet to swedish police and i have seen how the pimps traffic on the ferries, girls to sweden, understand enough polish and russian, and it excist and it is much worse for the girls because they now need criminals to protect them and their custoomers and can't do anything.
The swedish model is also moraly wrong beccause it says that the state owns your body, it takes the freedom away from the woman over her own body often with collectivist arguments, so stupid that like well dnt want to live that way, then it should be a crme but i alsoo don't want to live like a homoseksual, transvestite, BDSM or much else, but i don't want to make it a crime and i don't feel it hurts my pride as a man if someother men decide to live that way, it is their own choice.
Sweden is obviously confusing sex trafficking with prostitution. There is nothing wrong with a person paying another consenting adult for any need. All they are doing is driving the market for it underground further out of the public eye and causing even more heinous acts to occur.
I don't see any confusion at all. It's delusional to think that most prostitutes are happy entrepreneurs. Prostitutes will most likely fall into either of two categories: enslaved or desperate. It makes sense that they should not be victimized twice, but rather given an economic disincentive (eg, lack of demand from buyers), while the buyers themselves bear the weight of punishment for attempting to exploit these women.
"Desperate"? In all of Europe there is an extensive safety net that gives women very many alternatives to prostitution. Why are there still German prostitutes when unemployment is low and social services would be glad to relocate these women to new professions? A European prostitute can earn upwards of 100k euros a year tax free.
Let's assume that this was not the case (or is the case for developing countries). Your argument is that we should ban an activity that is the only option for "desperate" women? So what would you propose these women do instead?
Human trafficking is a very serious issue. I watched this very impressive video on one of my favourite blogs. Watch it and you'll be convinced about some of the measures taken in Sweden.
Well, the whole study is pretty pathetic to put it mildly. They want to get the results they want to see.
There are plenty of reports of prostitution, it seems it's just gone off the streets and underground.
And court trials seem to be rather problematic too, where does buying sex start??
Is inviting your girl-friend to dinner buying sex?
And what do all the invited dignitaries from other countries get to see when they come to a visit?? A tour of the town with no prostitutes?? Seems like a rather lame excuse for wasting government money on the part of the visitors.
Add to this that more foreign women are reported to work now in prostitution:
Last not least, a lot of Swedes travel to places like Thailand for their vacation.
Some of these problems just get exported – perhaps to Copenhagen in Denmark, just across from Sweden (rise in prostitution there supposedly), or cheap ferry rides to the Baltics with prostitutes waiting in the hotels.
And no, I have no personal experience with this. Never have, never will.
The author of this article is Beatrice Ask, the Swedish Minister of Justice (Attorney General). She is the same woman who – while in her present position – suggested that Swedish men not even charged with any crime who are merely under suspicion of having purhcased sexual services should be sent violet envelopes so that their wifes and girlfriends would understand what is going on.
The Swedish law against the purchase of sexual services has met with massive criticism within Sweden by experts and laymen alike, and has also been protested by a number of prostitutes who have chosen to go out in media, at great personal costs for themselves. Not ONE prostitute has publicly defended this law. The majority of prostitutes in Sweden have never been trafficked, and the majority of prostitutes are not street prostitutes, but even such prostitutes have written articles in Swedish media, explaining how this law harms them, and make their work more dangerous.
This law has had several negative effects. One such effect is the reshuffling of police and justice system resources from combatting serious crime to hunting down normal Swedish men with no prior criminal record, regardless of whether the sex was bought on the street, or from independent, highly paid luxury prostitutes having their own business with website and the works.
Another negative effect is how organized crime with interests in making money from sex has specifically targeted Sweden. It is easy to get away with breaking the law when you know that the customer will not report any misconduct to the police, because then they themselves will be arrested. It is easy to forget that in those cases when misconduct actually do occur, trafficking, locking people in apartments, holding on to foreign prostitutes' passports, threating prostitutes etc. all are illegal and are NOT handled by this law.
The hypocricy surrounding this law is quite telling. The police has not in one single instance even tried to do anything about women purhasing sexual services from men. Such services are in Sweden openly sold under for instance euphemisms such as "yoni massage", and openly discussed and encouraged at Swedish fora where no login is necessary. In some cases, leading national media have openly and with very positive undertones published articles where women buying sex have been hailed as "strong", "busy" women in their careers who have the guts to "take charge" and "take what they need". It has even been referred to as a "feminist act" for a woman to buy sex from a man.
Beatrice Ask claims success, but the very nature and effect of making something illegal is that it moves underground and beyond the radar of authorities, and usually the conditions then become worse for the prostitutes, just as they themselves claim – those who have spoken up. Don't forget that even though it is legal to sell sexual services, it is in the interest of the seller to make the selling clandestine in such a way as to make the buyer comfortable enough to dare to break the law by buying sex.
In some parts of the sparsely populated north of Sweden, where in fact there is a shortage of women, single and lonely men have been approached in their own homes by Russian women trying to make a fast buck, women holding regular jobs in Russia. (I have actually talked to such a woman – and no, not as a customer. She certainly was no "victim".) It is a great shame to penalize and humiliate such men further. (I am truly ashamed of the Swedish law against the purchase of sexual services. It is so easy for people like me who don't have a need to buy sex to moralize against those who do, for whatever reason.) Sweden has plenty of serious crime, where our tax "dollars" could be spent much more effiently to combat real suffering, where people get killed or seriously injured – people who are third party innocent victims.
The evaluation referred to in this article by Beatrice Ask was a job ordered by Ask where the questions to be asked and its answers were determined beforehand. Here is an article about how tyhe criticism against the law was ignored, written by a Ph.D. and professor. It is in Swedish, as is just about every other interesting article and source related to the matter that I could refer to. Please use Google's translation services to maybe get an idea.
Here is another article by a prostitution researcher who says that the evaluation of the law against the purhcase of sexual sevices is a scandal:
Here is an article in Sweden's leading conservative newspaper, by a member of parliament, explaining how the law against the purhcase of sexual sevices is a failure:
The list goes on and on, and I could have added references to Ph.D. dissertations on the subject matter, but it feels rather pointless to publish a list of resources in Swedish on an English language newsite, so let me end with an article in English about a Swedish woman of the radical feminist movement, who started to look into the issue of prostitution. Not even she believes that the Swedish law against the purhcase of sexual sevices turned out well:
Very insightful Lars, the most informative and worthwhile comment made on this ridiculous article.
This article (in English) paints quite a different picture than the one sanctioned by the Swedish Justice Ministry under Beatrice Ask:
The Swedish law against the purchase of sexual services is causing some amusement (in English):
Thank you for your alternate view, I was wondering what another side to this story was.
The Swedish government has been unable to show that the ban has had any positive effects. I recommend Susanne Dodillet's thesis on the subject. In spite of the lack of progress, Ask and her allies within the political left are now forging ahead and have put forth a proposal for a law which essentially demands that a signed consensus contract is in place whenever people engage in sex. CNN has clearly not done their homework here.
Stop defending human slavery and the slave owners. Whatever you do, keep in mind that unless the women have the right to be free and go home if they wish, you are part of the system that keeps them in slavery. While some men may prefer sex with slaves vs. free women, that does not mean the society should be under obligation to meet their needs.
You are mindlessly barthing up your own ideology. Where are your facts?
Read and inform yourself. Most prostitutes in Europe are European. They are not trafficked from another country and they know full well their rights.
Calling prostitution slavery is a nice marketing trick to try to promote your otherwise weak argument.
It was not intended to help anything or anyone. The law was intended to establish a gender bias in the law against males.
The Swedish Government has always treated its citizens like misbehaving children. This is just another example to stretch it even further....
This is so ridiculous. This commenter BiancaAlHamdy is so full of ignorance, it is just beyond belief. Not all prostitutes are sex slaves. End of story. Please try to get that through your head.
I think this article fails to mention that all the political parties in Sweden believe in the Radical Feminist perspective, which is that women are inherently exploited by men, in the same way that the capitalist class exploits the working class. I.e. Marxism.
Are these the kind of people you want ruling your country? Honestly, I feel sorry for Swedish men. It is even more sick to consider that now they are trying to export their model. I encourage Swedish men to vote with their feet by leaving the country. Permanently.
Funny you should say that....
Swedish men are actually doing just that!! They are marrying foreign women. Brilliant !!!
Of course feminist find this completely unacceptable and are already sponsoring studies on how this is somehow evil because Swedish men are not allowed to look for women with "traditional values"
....And proposing laws to make it harder to marry a foreigner....
I think this really is the cherry on top for this entire discussion. The Swedish political establishment is not only against the "patriarchal" opression of women by men in prostitution. They are also against the "patriarchal" opression of women in traditional marriages....
The value system of Swedish feminists is so skewed that they don't even realize that their culture is already dying.
And by the way, I forgot to mention, there ARE women who purchase sex from male sex workers. How does that fit into their radical feminist worldview?
I say- punish human trafficking, where it occurs. It is clear what human trafficking is. Otherwise, let women and men buy or sell sex if they want. It may seem perverse to some people, but that is their private business.
Get the Swedish state out of my life!
I am CNN! I am the White Knight! I will save you from those dark skinned men in developing countries who are so cruel and brutal! I will broadcast it all over TV so that everyone will think there is a massive problem out there which must be solved- and you can solve it by watching CNN! Just like there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq! And we invaded Afghanistan to free those women from the Taliban! Soon we will invade Denmark until they adopt Sweden's laws! We rule the world!
I say- punish the human traffickers. But not all prostitution is human trafficking. It may be shocking to middle class Americans who live in the bible belt, but... yes, some women (and even some men) do choose to do sex work freely and without being forced. Go ask them if they want you to make sex work illegal (for customers or for the sellers-either way).
I would like to know: how does Beatrice Ask explain the existence of these two organizations?
"We are sex workers. We are workers who use our brains and our skill to earn an income. We are proud to support ourselves and our extended families.We look after each other at work; we fight for safe & fair standards in our industry and equal rights within society. We are a major part of the Thai economy, bringing in lots of tourist dollars. We are active citizens on every issue...politics, economics, environment, laws, rights, etc. We try and find space in society to stand up and be heard. Some see us as problem makers but actually we are part of the solution. We are sex workers; we are EMPOWER, welcome to our website."
Bad Girls Radio
Chiang Mai (FM 100.5)
Mondays – Fridays
at 5 P.M. – 7 P.M.
In Islamic country, there is no prostitution. The eaisest way to stop prostitution is established sharia law. The prostitute should be killed by stonning. Also the byer should be lashed by stick hundred times. So the problem will be sloved.
Actually, there is plenty of prostitution in Islamic countries. I saw a TV-documentary about it. That was either from Iran or Saudi Arabia.
the Arab countries are leaders in the hypocrisy they show over prostitution. visit the hotel eclipse in Dubai and you will find nearly 200 women waiting on you.
I think Bianca Al Hamdy is a "sock puppet" for Beatrice Ask...
@Shahidul Islam.... Actually prostitution is legal in Turkey. And in Iran they have something called a "temporary marriage", which can last for an extremely short time and is often basically prostitution. I'm not familiar with other countries, but I am very skeptical of your claim that there is no prostitution in Islamic countries.
Don't worry about this law. It will get repealed eventually as it's unworkable and biased nature comes to fruition.
Sweden has a very gender biased law which was put into place by radical feminsts who spend more resources hating men that protecting women. The Swedish law punishes the soliciting John harshly while treating the woman, who advertized herself for sale for sex, as a victim. The reason this cannot work in the US is because the Justice Dept has already said our Constitution will not allow the system to take two poeple who willfully engage in an illegal activity and treat one as a victim while harshly punishing the other.
If the trafficking is so bad, why is CNN the only news source campaigning on this right now? The other news outlets have dropped it because they realize the stats are exaggerated.
Remember the SuperBowl when they warned of child sex trafficking? Where were the busts? Arrests? Charges? Not one. Not one arrest or case arose from it. If trafficking is so widespread, doesn't it seem odd that there are no cases to back up the estimates?
Sorry, but what makes Sweden a poor market for slavers and p!mps is Swedish women, it has nothing to do with the legal system. #faildeflect
Is a laudable idea for prostitution or the purchase of sexual service to be criminalize,Precept must be upon precept..
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This approach may be right for America also, especially if the report is true that women must serve 30 clients daily, and profit are 1000% as Harvard researchers have found. Those profits could be state and federal fines instead to compensate authorities for having to deal with the problem.
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