Prostitution policy: Nordic Model (Swedish Sex Purchase Act)
Prostituted persons: 1.000
Government of Sweden
Since 1999 it has been illegal to pay for casual sexual relations in Sweden. The penalty is a fine or imprisonment for a maximum of one year. This applies both to those who pay for sexual relations and those who take advantage of casual sexual relations paid for by another person.
The Act on prohibiting the purchase of sexual services (SFS 1998:408) entered into force on 1 January 1999. In connection with the sexual crimes reform of 2005, the Act was revoked and replaced by new legislation on the purchase of sexual services (Chapter 6, Section 11 of the Swedish Penal Code).
A person who, otherwise than as previously provided in this Chapter, obtains a casual sexual relation in return for payment, shall be sentenced for purchase of sexual service to a fine or imprisonment for at most one year.
The provision of the first paragraph shall also apply if the payment was promised or given by another person.
> Chapter 6, Section 11 of the Swedish Penal Code
Evaluation of the prohibition of the purchase of sexual services
On 2 July 2010, Chancellor of Justice Anna Skarhed submitted the report Prohibition of the purchase of sexual services. An evaluation 1999-2008 (SOU 2010:49) to the Government.
“We must teach more countries about our Sexual Purchases Act”
The French National Assembly recently voted to criminalise sexual purchases in accordance with the Swedish model. With this new law, the French government also wants to combat trafficking in human beings and trafficking networks – the modern slave trade.
Support for the Sexual Purchases Act has remained constantly high in population studies going back several surveys. In the latest survey from 2014, 72 per cent took a positive view of the act (85 per cent among women and 60 per cent among men).
The Swedish Institute
Prostitution Policy in Sweden – targeting demand (2019)
The booklet “Prostitution Policy in Sweden – targeting demand” offers the history behind, and the results of, Sweden’s approach to combat prostitution and human trafficking.
Twenty years ago Sweden became the first country in the world to prohibit the purchase of sexual services. Since then, several other countries have observed the positive effects of Sexual Purchase Act and introduced similar legal frameworks. Many other countries are showing an interest.
Swedish laws, policies and interventions on prostitution and trafficking in human beings: A comprehensive overview
Gunilla S. Ekberg, 2018
The report is designed to give a comprehensive overview of the current legal, policy and strategical framework on prostitution and human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation in Sweden, and to provide an analysis of its implementation.
This report aims to describe the Swedish principled gender equality approach to prostitution and trafficking in human beings for sexual exploitation, and the legal and institutional framework, preventative efforts, with a particular focus on actions that discourage the demand, and measures for the support and protection of victims.
Swedish Ambassador-at-Large for Combatting Trafficking in Persons
Per Sunesson, the Swedish Ambassador-at-Large for Combatting Trafficking in Persons, told CBN News why Sweden decided to do this and why it’s been hugely successful.
“And it really changed the mindset of Swedish people,” Sunesson explained. “I’m 54 years old and I would say there are still people my age who thinks it’s okay to buy sex. But my son, who is 26, in his generation, no one would even think the thought to buy sex.”
“So it really lowered the demand for girls and women in prostitution,” he told CBN News. “Sweden now is pretty much a dead market for human trafficking for sexual exploitation. We have almost no organized crime regarding that at all.”
In fact, not one violent crime against a prostitute has been reported since the law took effect, according to the ambassador.
Amnesty International’s Empty Promises: Decriminalization, Prostituted Women, and Sex Trafficking
Geist, Darren (2016), Dignity: A Journal on Sexual Exploitation and Violence.