Prohibiting Sex Purchasing and Ending Trafficking: The Swedish Prostitution Law (2011)

This article by Max Waltman analyzes the Swedish prostitution law from 1999, which criminalized the sex buyer and decriminalized prostituted persons. He analyzes this law as both appropriate and in line with the United Nation’s Trafficking Protocol from 2000, which states that a person is regarded as a trafficking victim when, e.g., someone abuses her “position of vulnerability” in order to exploit her. Prostitution, based on international jurisprudence and social evidence, generally satisfies this definition.

The article shows that Sweden has significantly reduced the occurrence of trafficking in Sweden compared to neighboring countries that have not implemented a similar model. It scrutinizes some misinformation about the law’s impact, showing for instance that claims that allege that there is greater danger for those still in prostitution are unfounded. It also addresses the remaining obstacles to the law’s effective implementation.

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