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Ms. Anna Skarhed, Chancellor of Justice in Sweden, speaks about legislation that prohibits the purchase of sexual services.

 


Following an invitation from the Ambassador of Sweden to Poland, Mrs. Inga Eriksson Fogh, RENATE Member, Aneta Grabowska, joined a luncheon to meet Ms. Anna Skarhed, Chancellor of Justice in Sweden. The event was held at the Ambassador’s Residence in Warsaw on Monday, 10th April 2017. It was a unique opportunity to hear directly from the Chancellor of Justice, about the Swedish legislation that prohibits the purchase of sexual services and to address questions in the presence of experts.
There were thirteen Polish guests, representing different institutions and organisations which contribute to the eradication of modern slavery on various levels, from legislation, through academic research to the provision of direct support to the victims. It is important to mention the presence of representatives from the Ministry of Interior, the Polish Ombudsman, Border Guards, Warsaw University (Human Trafficking Studies Centre), La Strada Foundation, You Can Free Us ngo and PoMOC Association (represented by Aneta Grabowska).
The Ambassador led the two-hour programme, including a short presentation from Ms. Anna Skarhed which was followed by discussion. It was most interesting to hear about the impact of the law – introduced in Sweden in 1999 – which penalises the clients of prostitution. purshasers of sex. It forbids the purchase of sexual services and at the time, was the first instance of this particular legislation. The Chancellor said that since the law was implemented, there were no cases of violence reported by women to the Police. It definitely helped to stop brutality against women and even if the law did not stop prostitution completely, it is now safer for the women. The statistics indicate that demand for prostitution in Sweden before 1999 involved 13% of the population and it dropped to 8% after the law was introduced.
As of 2009, both Norway and Iceland had enacted laws similar to Sweden’s. This legislation is gender-neutral in regard to both buyers and sellers. Practically speaking, however, it focuses on the demand for women and children who are exploited sexually and it criminalizes the sex buyers who, typically, are men. On the other hand, the sale of sexual services is not punishable by law. It is this view of sex buyers and sex sellers that is the foundation of “the Swedish model” – from ‘’Targeting the sex buyer” by Kajsa Claude which can be a source of further details.
Booklet with information about the Swedish model is available at:
https://eng.si.se/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2013/02/Targeting-the-sex-buyer-English.pdf
Author: Aneta Grabowska.