Sweden Revisits Prostitution Law

By Sullivan, Tom | The Christian Science Monitor, June 28, 2009 | Go to article overview

Sweden Revisits Prostitution Law


Sullivan, Tom, The Christian Science Monitor


When Swedish public radio stations posted fake ads for sexual services on websites in May, they were swamped with almost a thousand inquiries.

The stunt would hardly have raised an eyebrow in most European countries, but in Sweden, where an antiprostitution law that targets clients has been in force for a decade, it prompted an uproar, as well as calls for stricter penalties for those who patronize prostitutes.

The country's pioneering "sex purchase" law - promoted internationally as a model for reducing human trafficking and prostitution - is under review this year. Although lawmakers and police want harsher sentences to deter clients, some sex workers' organizations and analysts claim the law is unworkable and fails to protect prostitutes.

"It has made Sweden a less attractive destination for traffickers, but the penalties are so low that the police have not prioritized the crime," says Johan Linander, a Center Party member of parliament.

Mr. Linander's party, part of Sweden's governing center-right coalition, wants stricter sentencing, particularly for repeat offenders and those who frequent prostitutes controlled by pimps or human traffickers.

In Sweden, it's not illegal to be a prostitute. But it is illegal to hire one. The law considers prostitution a form of violence against women. Visiting a prostitute is currently punishable with a six-month jail sentence. However, despite about 2,000 arrests, no one has been jailed and convictions have only led to minor fines - due mainly to difficulties with finding evidence and the low maximum penalty on the statute books.

"We need the real possibility of jail terms for the law to become more of a deterrent," says Detective Inspector Ewa Carlenfors, chief of Stockholm's antitrafficking group, which has successfully closed several East European prostitution rings.

"At the moment, the penalty is the same as for petty theft. But buying a person's body and pinching a tube of toothpaste is hardly the same thing."

WHEN THE LAW CAME INTO FORCE in 1999, street prostitution virtually vanished here, but in recent years it returned, prompting calls for a crackdown.

Nonetheless, compared with other European capitals, Stockholm's red-light district - a nondescript street perched on a hill above the commercial center - hardly deserves the name. Most prostitution in Sweden is mobile, and some estimates suggest less than 10 percent is operated from the streets.

"It's much easier to sell sexual services via the Internet and cellphones. The hidden part of prostitution is far bigger," explains Anna Jutterdal, a spokesperson for Stockholm city's prostitution unit, which offers healthcare and advice to about 200 women per week. The prostitution unit's official role is to reduce prostitution, and having a law - however ineffective - that targets clients, plays an important part in that effort, says Ms. Jutterdal.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Sweden Revisits Prostitution Law
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.