Friday, February 29, 2008

Swedish Models

Unsurprisingly with all the recent news - there is some discussion at present of how best to deal with the problems of prostitution. Julie Bindel gets very much to the bottom of the matter in this great interview with a professor of criminology.

To me it's seems so obvious that the way to sort the problem out is to criminalise men who pay for sex. Not because I'm some kind of mad man-hating lunatic who wants every guy thrown in prison. And not because I'm some weird anti-sex prude either.

The facts are these: the vast majority of women in prostitution are there under coercion of one sort or another: Trafficked women, drug-addicted women, victims of domestic violence and sexual violence. These women are being put at risk on a daily basis of rape, assault and murder. While fiction-writers may tell us there are "high-class" call girls who enjoy their work, if there are, they are clearly few and far between and do not justify the industry as a whole. n Criminalising someone who works under coercion won't change anything.

Meanwhile the men who visit prostitutes are not coerced to do so in any way. No man is ever forced to visit a prostitute. Men chose quite freely whether to do so or not. So by criminalising paying for sex you render illegal a part of the process that is not coerced and can be stopped dead in it's tracks. Problem gone.

This means of dealing with the sex industry is known as The Swedish Model because it works a treat in Sweden. Hopefully the government will come back to it at some point.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Iceman said...

"This means of dealing with the sex industry is known as The Swedish Model because it works a treat in Sweden."

It works for two reasons:

(1) when you decriminalize the selling of sex, prostitutes won't be afraid to come forward and get help - drug treatment, protection from a violent pimp, or using programs to help them leave the trade (which almost all of them want to do) and find legitimate employment.

(2) when you criminalize the buying of sex, and strictly enforce it instead of looking the other way, the demand quickly shuts off, and when the demand for prostitution shuts off, women stop being trafficked into the trade. In Western countries, most men who visit prostitutes are middle-aged, and don't feel any massive drive to do so. If there is a real danger of arrest from using prostitutes, they are easily deterred.

2:55 pm  
Blogger Susan Stark said...

>>The facts are these: the vast majority of women in prostitution are there under coercion of one sort or another.>>

Really? Where's your proof? It seems that when it comes to prostitutes, no proof is required.

>>While fiction-writers may tell us there are "high-class" call girls who enjoy their work, if there are, they are clearly few and far between and do not justify the industry as a whole.>>

If 99% of prostitutes are drug addicted or coerced, and only 1% are professional escorts, then that 1% justifies the industry. The non-coerced prostitutes are rule (no matter how few their numbers), and the drug-addicted and coerced prostitutes are the exception (no matter how many of them exist). For example, prostitutes who are drug addicted probably had a drug problem *before* they started prostitution; they are just using prostitution to support their habit.

>>So by criminalising paying for sex you render illegal a part of the process that is not coerced and can be stopped dead in it's tracks. Problem gone.>>

This is completely ignorant. In the United States, the buying of sex is illegal in most states. That doesn't keep people from buying sex. Eliot Spitzer is one example.

>>This means of dealing with the sex industry is known as The Swedish Model because it works a treat in Sweden.>>

That's not what the Swedish people are saying. Maybe you out to look it up.

11:34 pm  
Blogger Ellie said...

The trouble with any blanket approach, whether criminalisation of soliciting or of purchasing sex, is that it lumps together those who shouldn't be considered criminals.

If people choose to engage in consensual acts posited on an exchange of consideration then that really shouldn't be something that the law gets involved in one way or the other.

It's the pimps, traffickers and drug dealers who benefit from coerced prostitution who we should be concentrating our attention on.

3:08 pm  
Blogger Cruella said...

So who exactly are the nice guys buying sex for legitimate reasons? I don't know them.

2:11 am  

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