Swedish Example

"The only way to decrease the problem is by decreasing the demand"

(Guy Jacobson, RedLight Children Campaign)

THE PROBLEM

An estimated 2 million women and children are held in sexual servitude throughout the world, and between 800,000 and 900,000 are trafficked across international borders for the purposes of sexual exploitation each year.  These women and children make up the "supply" side of sex trafficking.

This supply has been created to meet a demand.  Without this demand, there would be no need for trafficked women and children.  The demand side of the trafficking equation includes those (mostly men) who buy sexual services and/or consumer goods (videos, Internet pornography, etc.) created from the sexual exploitation of trafficked persons. The demand needs to be addressed and Sweden is one country who has found a success solution. Read below to learn about the Swedish Model. 

A SOLUTION

In 1999, Sweden was the first country in the world to create a law prohibiting the purchase of sexual services in their country. This sex purchase law has made it very difficult for traffickers to do business in Sweden and, as a result, significantly reduced prostitution operating in their country. 

The practice of focusing on the sex buyers and neutralizing the demand for sexual services in order to combat prostitution and human trafficking for sexual purposes is often referred to as “the Swedish example.” The idea behind the law is that the demand, primarily by men, for such services, is what sustains prostitution and human trafficking for sexual purposes as the following video explains:

The Swedish Model

THE SWEDISH EXAMPLE

In the Swedish view, prostitution and human trafficking are linked by the sex buyers, whose money finances organized crime. In other words, the sex buyers make human trafficking both possible and lucrative.

Sweden has made significant headway in reducing trafficking and prostitution. Instead of focusing on prosecuting the women offering the service, they target the 'john's', the customers who are fueling the demand and thus feeding trafficking. 

THEIR GOALS

The goal of the Swedish law is twofold: 

  • to convince people to abstain from committing the crime of buying sex, and
  • to establish norms under which no woman, man, girl or boy can be sold and no one has the right to sexually exploit another human being. 

To accomplish their goals, Sweden's action plan comprises of five areas:

  1. Increased support for the victims of human trafficking
  2. Improved preventative work
  3. Improved quality and efficiency in the legal system
  4. Expanded national and international collaboration
  5. Higher level of knowledge
The following publication explains the Swedish Model in greater detail. A must read. 

Download and read: "TARGETING THE SEX BUYER. THE SWEDISH EXAMPLE: STOPPING PROSTITUTION AND TRAFFICKING WHERE IT ALL BEGINS" BY Kajsa Claude

Success of Swedish Model


Since 1997, kajsa wahlberg, an employee of the Swedish National Police Board, has been the national rapporteur on human trafficking to the Swedish government. She was appointed to this mission at the request of the EU. In her previous position as a detective inspector, she specialized in sex crime investigations.

“The least resource-heavy way to handle prostitution and human trafficking is for men to change their behavior and stop buying sex. Prostitution is a form of exploitation of women and children and a serious societal problem that damages both the individuals who are exploited and society in general,” says Kajsa Wahlberg.

She firmly believes that the demand from sex-buying men is the reason for prostitution and human trafficking. “In Sweden, the law is a very good starting point for combating both prostitution and human trafficking, but in order to step up the international effort, more countries have to introduce sex purchase laws that criminalize the buyer. Ten years ago, other countries were laughing at us and our sex purchase law; today their outlook is quite different,” she explains.

OTHER COUNTRIES FOLLOWING SWEDEN'S EXAMPLE

Denmark: 

Prostitution was decriminalized in 1999. A discussion on the introduction of a sex purchase law that would criminalize the buyer is currently underway.

Finland: 

Since 2006, it has been against the law to buy sex from prostitutes who are the victims of human trafficking.

Iceland: 

In 2007, the ban on supporting oneself through prostitution was lifted. In April 2009, the purchase of sexual services was criminalized. The penalty can be fines or prison for up to one year.

Norway: 

On 1 January 2009, Norway introduced a sex purchase law that criminalizes individuals who buy sex. This law applies the same sentencing guidelines as the Swedish one. However, the Norwegian law goes one step further than the Swedish one: it also forbids the purchase of sex abroad. (1) 


WHAT YOU CAN DO

1) Petition your government to embrace the philosophy and practice of Sweden's legal model to abolish sex slavery. 

2) Read to learn more:

Pornography: Driving the Demand in International Sex Trafficking (Captive Daughter Media) - Amazon

Best Practices to Address the Demand Side of Sex Trafficking

3) Hold a conference about the demand of trafficking:

Captive Daughters has presented two very successful conferences with the theme of "Demand Dynamics". Much is known about the "supply" side of sex trafficking (the victims), but in order to successfully combat, and eventually end, the practice of sex trafficking we explore the "demand" side of trafficking at these conferences.

The Demand Dynamics series of conferences were designed to stimulate thoughtful and effective strategies for eradicating the “demand” side of sex trafficking.

At these conferences, they ask :

  • What do we know about the people who make up the “demand” side of sex trafficking?
  • How do consumers of sex trafficking find their “supply” and how is that demand manipulated and maintained?
  • What governmental policies or practices enable the actions of those who create demand?
  • What can be done to interfere with and ultimately eliminate demand?
For more information on holding one of these conferences, click here


4) Finally, for men:

Commit to becoming a man of integrity in this generation and encourage others to do the same. Read the following Code of Conduct developed by the Salvation Army:

INTERNATIONAL CODE OF CONDUCT FOR MEN IN THE 21ST CENTURY (Salvation Army)


(1) This information was taken from Targeting the Sex Buyer: The Swedish example (pages 3, 6, and 11).

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