The Swedish Sex Purchase Act: Claimed Success and Documented Effects

This is a very good article that presents a strong case that the criminalisation of clients in Sweden has not been successful in any terms. It contains fascinating statistics about the extent of trafficking in Sweden and illustrates the lack of integrity and rigour of claims that support 'the Swedish Model'.

It also provides a compelling  case for looking closely at the  true consequences of measures aimed at limiting sexual exploitation and sex trafficking.

"Sweden's criminalization of the purchase of sexual services in 1999 is said to be a unique  measure: to only punish those who buy sexual services, not those who sell them. However this  alleged uniqueness is questionable, and for several reasons. There are a number of other laws and regulations against prostitution, which effectively make Swedish prostitution policy similar to those countries in the world that attempt to reduce or eradicate prostitution with legislative means. Another reason the claim to uniqueness is doubtful is that one must examine more than the wording of a law or policy model ("it is only those who buy sex who are being punished") when analyzing it – one has to consider the actual consequences. "

Conference paper presented at the International Workshop: Decriminalizing Prostitution and Beyond: Practical Experiences and Challenges. The Hague, March 3 and 4, 2011



Year of publication: 
Susanne Dodillet and Petra Östergren