Critiques of Swedish Prostitution Model

Some anti-prostitution advocates here have suggested that the Swedish system of criminalizing purchasers of sexual services is a beneficial solution and that there has been some sort of ‘proof’ as to the success of this system. Indeed, this ‘proof’ has been seriously contested from a number of quarters.

Did you hear General Betray-Us this week? He had lots of ‘proof’ that the Iraq occupation (they call it a war) is very successful now. This is widely critiqued as US propaganda. On this website you can see that Swedes also challenge their county’s ‘proof’ and propaganda. Of course Farley’s has been widely challenged.

Please visit the site below for the other side of the Swedish Prostitution debate.

http://www.bayswan.org/swed/swed_index.html

30 Responses

  1. The same Torduange who was all over RevEv a few months ago with the all-too-familiar charge of being a well-off sex worker?:

    http://renegadeevolution.blogspot.com/2007/07/responsibility.html

    Not to say that invalidates her point – just find it interesting.

  2. ” Sexworkers Critique of Swedish Prostitution Policy
    In this article I will not deal with the complex issue of whether prostitution is socially or otherwise desirable. Rather this article seeks to document some of the experiences and opinions of female sexworkers in Sweden. I have been concerned by the fact that the very women who are at the center of prostitution policy are so rarely heard and so often feel discriminated against. If equal rights for women is important, then the experience of sexworkers themselves must surely be central to our discussion, regardless of what position one takes on prostitution. ”

    http://www.petraostergren.com/content/view/44/67/

  3. I’ve seen the Petra Ostergren paper, and it definitely raises valid points. The downside is that its totally anecdotal. Still, I think more highly of a report thats open about its POV and use of anecdotal information over one that does the same thing, but hides it behind a veneer of science and pseudo-statistics.

  4. i personally wish everyone who isn’t a swedish prostitute would shut up about the swedish model.

  5. I have spoken to a number of Swedish prostitutes and staying out of it hasn’t been suggested to me by any of them. The ones I have spoken to seem very eager for support, especially because of the isolation within their own country. Maybe those who are interested would want to establish communications and find ways to support their projects?

    About Petra’s work…I have often wished Petra were a statistician! Oh well…She is a well-known feminist and author in Sweden.

    Another non-statistician, Isabella’s paper and blog are very interesting.

    http://sensuellqkonsult.wordpress.com/2007/05/26/lies-about-sexwork-in-sweden/

  6. Workers and our allies get to weigh in on the Swedish model and every other policy that effects our economy irregardless of our location on the planet or our status as illegal, legal and everywhere in between workers, It is called industrial organizing. Which is what ESPU is about, industrial organizing. When one worker is coerced into taking less money for their labor or suffers conditions they can’t speak out about, because of fear of retaliation from law enforcement and loss of income, then we say, ‘an injury to one is an injury to all’.
    It is important that workers have the right to migrate across boarders to work for what ever reason we do that. We must have equal protection under the law in every municipality, state and country instead of being in fear of exploitation by the law. I don’t see any of the haters helping us gain that basic right. Instead they create conditions through criminalization and legalization which demand that we must abdicate our right to work over their right to the clock money and public kudos off of our head count.

    In retrospect, it was the City of San Francisco District Attorney who instituted the First Offender Prostitution Program, a proposal that Norma Hotaling came up with so she could get paid by profiting off the criminalization by targeting our customers since profiting off our criminalized labor became a point of glaring hypocrisy. She, as an agent of the state, (also known as daddy’s girl), positioning herself to profit off of our labor but we don’t get to profit off our own labors.
    Now we see this top down organizing poverty pimping policy spread like the plague across the globe unfortunately. This is the example of why Swedish prostitutes ought to have stood in solidarity with efforts of San Francisco workers and allies. Think globally, act locally.

    With the digital age, more people are able to be in communication about the oppression, but what is lacking on our part is a critic about why we keep loosing these battles to poverty pimps and how they keep detrimentally effecting everyone’s economy and how we might better organize ourselves to take direct action of solidarity. We wouldn’t have anything to loose by doing so because we don’t have anything.

    Other groups of workers have met these challenges, transcended these barriers and made changes and improvement for themselves, their families and communities and all on the planet have benefited from their efforts as all on the planet are waiting to benefit from our efforts. Ultimately our struggle is a sexual freedom struggle, the right to bodily freedom, to say now to this and yet to that. I think of United Farm Workers struggle and how it is similar to ours. I think of the GBLT rights movement and how we’re about a good 30 to 40 years behind them noting our current state of infighting.

    What’s ironic is how the haters deny the effects of how their policies continues to bar our right to say no to bad work conditions and wages. As an organizing strategy, it’s a waist of time to argue with them, they are not the decision makers. But in arguing with them we can see again which lines of thinking are effective and which ones lead back to were we are. We must find our own collective global industrial voice and hone our collective demands so we can get to the table to engage in collective bargaining to lift the ban on prostitution across this planet, in this galaxy… in this life time or the next.

  7. well, but I take RE’s point that at least a good starting point wrt how well a given implemented system “works” would be the people whom it most directly affects. In this case…Swedish prostitutes.

    I mean, I could at least certainly see CENTERING them when it comes to whether the y’know Swedish model has “worked”

  8. well, but I take RE’s point that at least a good starting point wrt how well a given implemented system “works” would be the people whom it most directly affects. In this case…Swedish prostitutes.

    I mean, I could at least certainly see CENTERING them when it comes to whether the y’know Swedish model has “worked”

  9. You will find a lot of useful information about our laws and the negative consequences they have … at SANS webpage http://www.sans.nu/sans_eng.htm

    According to the law against procuring or “pimping” it is illegal to facilitate or in an undue way economically exploit a person who have brief sexual relations for money.
    A landlord is required to terminate the lease if the person is aware that the sale of sexual services is happening in his/hers property.

    The law against procuring hinders sexworkers to:
    · hire the help of others.
    · work together.
    · work indoors in their own facility.
    · market their services in the press.
    · share their profits with a partner or husband.

  10. Er, that came out badly…I guess I just feel that with all these people talking about the Swedish Model, pros and cons, that it would be nice to hear MORE about what the actual Swedish prostitutes think about it and how it really works for them and affects them. That’s all.

  11. Folks, in case you didn’t actually go to the other Word Press website from the Swedes, Isabella has a long piece at that website. She is probably actually in actual Sweden now, right? Anyway, you should visit http://www.sans.nu/sans_eng.htm

    So, RenegadeEvolution, your wish just came true!

  12. Isabella- that’s a really informative, well designed website. I didn’t realize that they had laws similar to California’s “Red light abatement act,” which makes it illegal for a landlord to rent property to a known prostitute, or for sex workers to work from a shared apartment. How anyone can justify that is beyond me.

    All I’ve heard up until know is that the Swedish model is so wonderful because it criminalizes the “demand” but not the women who supply their services. Why it’s seen as humane to starve someone out of their chosen profession is beyond me. I think these laws also make it easier for rapists and thugs to attack sex workers.

    Interesting (yet unfortunate) to know that they share some of our other, totally unfair, anti-prostitution laws.

  13. scarlot: excellent.

  14. There’s also a lot of publicity about how women caught in prostitution sweeps are treated to generous social welfare policies that allow them to get out. What isn’t mentioned is that those are only available to Swedish citizens and a lot of prostitutes, especially the poorer ones who get picked up by law enforcement, aren’t Swedish citizens, and are often simply deported. Which means right back into whatever situation they were in that caused them to go become sex workers in Sweden to begin with.

  15. It is my impression that similar laws that apply to landlords are in effect most places that prostitution is even partially criminalized…

  16. Yes I’m a sexworker and a sexworker activist here in Sweden and a good friend of mine is Pye Jakobson🙂 who has been a fighter for our rights in 15 years. SANS is a network for sexworkers and allies and we have tried to translate a lot of material cause we know that they spread lies about the situation in Sweden to other countries.

    All laws surrounding prostitution in Sweden works against sexworkers and the effects on the laws hits us in a very bad way. And if you think about it… that s only logic, because if you have laws against prostitution they will for sure also be against sexworkers.

    I think the model they have in New Zeeland is so much better.
    http://www.nzpc.org.nz/page.php?page_name=Law

    There new law from 2003 – The Prostitution Reform Act is designed to:
    (a) safeguard the human rights of sex workers and protect them from exploitation;
    (b) promote the welfare and occupational health and safety of sex workers:
    (c) be conducive to public health:
    (d) prohibit the use in prostitution of persons under 18 years of age; and
    (e) implements certain other related reforms.

  17. I know Gavin Newsom has been talking about going after the property owners that rent to erotic massage businesses. I wonder if those laws have actually been used any time in the past 50 years, other than to scare landlords into reporting suspicious activity and facilitating surveillance and/or sting operations… other than the Mission or Tenderloin residental hotels, that is.

    I wonder how Melissa and pals feel about that law? Do they care about sex workers getting evicted and put out onto the street, or is it okay since it would only involve hookers who are priviledged enough to have a place to live?

  18. Having been a worker in San Francisco who was evicted along with another worker, (we both had our children), it was disaster for us and our children.

  19. The World Men’s Organization invites all individuals and organizations to put Sweden infront of the European Court for Human Rights because of serious violation of the basic human rights and to support the legalizing of prostitution (selling and buying sex services – because sex is natural physiological need for all humans) in Sweden. Please contact me at: krendev@mail.bg

  20. Here’s an interesting article written by a British woman
    http://www.salli.org/muistio/self.html
    this is also interesting
    http://www.salli.org/muistio/kulick.html
    and while it has nothing to do with sweden, there were several articles in las vegas sun last week http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/sun/2007/sep/21/566640259.html?prostitution
    Federal regulations on prostitution work against efforts to combat human trafficking

  21. I love it that the mens world org is after it.
    What can we do to stand in solidariaty in those efforts?

  22. The POINT about bringing up the Swedish model is that it has PROVEN it’s effectiveness at virtually eliminating human trafficking into the area. Melissa’s report was on the concentration of trafficking in Las Vegas and make a CONSTRUCTIVE suggestion that since the Swedish model has proven effective at eliminating forced sexual slavery – that maybe they could take a look at using that model to reduce the problem going on in Nevada.

    If anyone read the actual book . . . . sigh . . . . . before attacking Melissa about it’s contents.

  23. Jody, I wouldn’t just accept whatever the Swedish government says without questioning it. The Swedish government also reported that prostitution has gone way down after this legislation passed, but Swedish sex workers have disputed this. It is highly possible that rather prostitution hasn’t decreased, but rather been pushed further underground and become more clandestine. Also, there are countries where prostitution is legal in most or all of the nation, such as Germany, Holland, and Australia, which have received high marks on efforts to end trafficking from the U.S. government. Furthermore, a U.S. Government Accountability Office report said there’s no evidence to support the claim that legal prostitution yields higher levels of trafficking.

  24. There’s actually absolutely no proof that the Swedish model of criminalizing just the johns has resulted in anything different than the US model of busting both johns and prostitutes. In both cases, the actions of law enforcement have translated into less street prostitution and more indoor prostitution.

    That’s all criminalization models ever really achieve, unless you want to throw a huge amount of law enforcement resources at setting up john entrapment schemes over Craigslist and the like, but generally, police and most of the general public rightly consider such actions invasive and an utter waste of law enforcement resources.

  25. Isabella- Thanks so much for being here!

    Curious: “That’s all criminalization models ever really achieve, unless you want to throw a huge amount of law enforcement resources at setting up john entrapment schemes over Craigslist and the like, but generally, police and most of the general public rightly consider such actions invasive and an utter waste of law enforcement resources.”

    No way. The police and community are perfectly happy to waste huge amounts of resources targeting online workers- especially on CL. It is outrageous and those who are concerned should begin speaking out about it asap. See the recent NYTimes article about it https://deepthroated.wordpress.com/?s=nytimes

    It’s been going on for at least a few years.

  26. I am prostitute in Sweden (Malmö) and I don’t understand your problem.
    Swedish model is NOT bad and NOT hurt swedish prostitutes.
    Maybe, it’s dangerous for our clients, but on the other side, they still buy sex though has been more respectful toward us, prostitutes after that swedish model.

    It’s enough to compare swedish sex-scene’s forums with the foreign forums.
    In all foreign forum the clients write disgusting stuff about prostitutes, putting 1-10 ‘points about their looks, ages and part of bodies. It looks like a real slave-market in Alabama 300 years ago.

    But the men should never dare to post the same anti-women crap on the swedish escort-forums, because it will be deleted immediately.

    In fact, we have just much higher prices after this law. It means that i dont need to take a 20 clients per each day to survive.
    I take JUST ONE CLIENT at week. Is that bad? That’s just fine.

  27. Just a little contribution. As 95% of other swedish prostitutes I did never worked on the street and never will.
    I use to advertise on the Internet. I don’t need any pimp or some silly ‘escort’agency’.
    Why shall i need those parasites since i’m capable to advertise independently on many escort-sites ? Adverts come direct online, without any ‘helpers’.

  28. Your blog is excellent. I m gonna come back again, thank you.

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