Thankfully Sweden's nasty, and soon 15-year-old, law that bans buying sex has not resulted in any convicted sex buyers spending time behind bars.
In 2011, 'Justice' Minister Beatrice Ask previously raised the red flag about supposedly lenient sentencing doled out in Swedish courts. In July 2012, the law was rewritten, allowing courts to send offenders to jail for a maximum of one year,
rather than the six months previously allowed.
Yet the rewrite has had little effect, noted Johan Linander, Centre Party MP and vice-chairman of Riksdag Committee on 'Justice' (Justitieutskottet). He whinged to the Local:
The courts make limited use of the range of sentencing available to them
A review of sentencing in the past few years by the Dagens Nyheter newspaper revealed that no one has been sentenced to prison for buying sex from an adult - neither before nor after the reform.
We see that the courts use the lower quarter of punishments with little variation, which is true for most crimes, not just sex purchases, said Linander, who has long argued that the punishments needed to be stricter.
Social Democrat MEP Anna Hedh, said she was hesitant toward filling Swedish prisons up with one-time offenders:
BUT ... if you are a repeat offender, you should of course end up in jail.
Men who are prosecuted for paying prostitutes in Sweden need help to prevent them re-offending, according to a government-commissioned report.
Anti-prostitution work needs to focus even more on men's role, according to the report entitled Men and Equality .
Tthe authors of the report claim that more needs to be done to target men who continue to pay for sex. Their recommendation to do more to prevent men going to prostitutes contrasts with Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt's call for a tougher
approach, including the enforcement of prison sentences.
Venusia, a Geneva massage parlor, is appealing to Switzerland's highest court over a 1,000-franc fine it received for advertising oral sex services without the use of a condom.
Authorities last year slapped Venusia with fines after it offered royal or imperial fellatio. Venusia's owner told 20 Minutes of that she didn't see why she should pay a fine. Prostitution is legal in Switzerland but subject to
regulation, including that of using condoms for oral services:
In all the rest of Switzerland, natural or 'royal' fellatio can be mentioned, the owner. Furthermore, since the girls of the parlor are independent, they can do what they want inside the premises.
Sweden's nasty parties, forming the Social Democrat-Green party coalition government, are trying to make it an offence for Swedes to use prostitutes when they are on holiday or working in other countries.
In Sweden it is already illegal for customers to pay for sex but now the government wants to extend the policy to Swedes who buy sex abroad, with a vote in parliament expected on Tuesday.
But their plans look set to be blocked by the more humane centre-right parties that made up the former governing Alliance in Sweden and the nationalist Sweden Democrats. Johan Pehrson, Liberal Party Justice spokesperson told Swedish television
For the Swedish police to scout abroad for this type of crime is not using their resources in the best way,
It is more important to combat serious sex crimes that exist in Sweden, particularly the crime of targeting children.
Richard Jomshof, speaking for the Sweden Democrats added:
We say no. Even if we are against buying sex in Sweden, it is not the same as interfering in other countries' legislation.
Last year the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education, RFSU, commissioned a research report to investigate the effects of the Swedish ban on sex purchase, introduced in 1999. RFSU wanted an independent overview of earlier studies to be
used as a foundation for a congressional decision in June 2015.
In an interview with DN (Dagens Nyheter), RFSU´s president Kristina Ljungros, says that there is no evidence that the demand has declined to the extent claimed by the 2010 state-led evaluation and that they are worried on the impact the ban has
on sex workers.
The report, conducted by Charlotta Holmstrom at Malmo¶ University, concludes that the ban's positive effects have been heavily exaggerated and have led to increased vulnerability for sex workers. Studies that Holmstrom refers to show that the
risks involved in selling sex have increased. The fear of being arrested has led to a situation where clients are seeing sex workers at their chosen venue (home or hotel) instead of meeting them at a place chosen by the sex workers. This means
that sex workers are forced to meet clients under unsafe circumstances, as they have no idea who they will meet beforehand.
Holmstrom says in the DN article that she was mainly surprised that no one had investigated how sex workers said they were impacted by the law. In the DN article she also says that the expressed ambition of the law was to combine it with social
support services, which is something that has not been realised to a sufficient degree. Holmstom said:
Without parallel and wide-spread investments in support services, the law seems to achieve different results than what was initially expected
She also notes that one of the consequences of the law is that the popular support for a prohibition of selling sex seems to have increased, which can be understood as a change in attitudes. The criminalisation of clients has led to an attitude
which perceives the person who sells sex as criminal.
Holmstrom is referring to a study where 52% of the respondents says that they think that the selling of sexual services also should be criminalised, compared to 30 % before the ban was introduced. President Kristina Ljungfors of RFSU says to DN
that this is a change in attitudes that they really don't want to see, since sex workers is about some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Ljungros says to DN that the report demonstrates a need to revise the legislation:
I understand the intention with the Swedish law. But if it doesn't work, we have to consider other alternatives.