When England’s Home Office minister Vernon Coaker visit Sweden later this week he will meet a bunch of people who will do their best to export Sweden’s law against purchase of sexual services to England.

Unfortunately they will be dishonest and try to do this with lies and propaganda and once again I will be ashamed of being a Swede.

The original motivation for Sweden’s prostitution laws wasn’t as a measure against trafficking, but as time has gone by, so has the argument.

That’s because the radical feminist ideas that the law was based upon has often been questioned which has led to trafficking increasingly being associated with the law as a way to defend it. After all, everybody is against trafficking, which is why they try to refute criticism on that level.

In the latest official report about human trafficking for sexual purpose from the The National Criminal Investigation Department in Sweden, published in December 2007, the police do not want to estimate the numbers of victims of trafficking in Sweden.

And in a new report from The Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare, published in December 2007, you can read that the knowledge about prostitution is very, very low among the police and other authorities in Sweden. The police and social workers doesn’t know how many sexworkers there is in Sweden. They do not know who or where we are. And that’s only natural, sexworkers in Sweden avoid contact, we do not have any trust at all for them.

The Swedish authorities believe that the sextrade is going to stop if you make it full of shame, illegal and as inhospitable as possible.

And because of this, the laws and the policies surrounding prostitution in Sweden there is no trust at all among sexworkers for the police, social workers or other authorities. That sexworkers would need social- and legal safety doesn’t even get mentioned in the debate about prostitution in Sweden.

Despite these facts some detectives, social workers, prosecutors and politicians in Sweden very often express what they believe as facts, even though they don’t have any evidence that supports their claim whatsoever.

You could for an example take part of these believes and lies in an article in The Guardian, Saturday January 5, 2008 – How making the customers the criminals cut street prostitution. Or listen to Rachel Williams
reports from the red light district in Stockholm

If the so called facts from the police and prosecutors in the article and in the report is true, it would be a strong evidence that our laws in Sweden is a big, big catastrophe in the fight against human trafficking.

If the statements are true we have ten times more victims of trafficking in Sweden than the police in our neighbor country Denmark estimate that they have. And in Denmark prostitution is legal.

If it is true… we have as many victims of trafficking in Sweden in this moment as they have found in the whole USA during the last seven years! Can this really be the truth? Why all these lies?

The issue of trafficking is now popular among some politicians; it is also a good springboard for a political career.

Politicians like to be seen as strongly opposed to trafficking, and it is therefore easy to argue for a criminalisation against our customers. And in Sweden there exists only one political correct opinion by the politicians, police and social workers, that the sex-purchase law is good, that it helps sexworkers and is effective against human trafficking.

This image, based upon what some people believe and not what they in fact know or the reality, is now being exported to other countries with lies and propaganda.

Sexworkers in Sweden advocate decriminalisation and better working conditions, because underground profiteers, pimps and traffickers flourish and we would rather avoid them.

It is damaging to sexworkers to be subjected to oppressive means like discrimination, violence and social stigma. Sex workers are being discriminated against, and thru that prejudice and stereotypes are preserved. The whore stigma, the social shame surrounding sexwork is very, very strong here in Sweden, stronger than I have met in other countries.

As an example of this let me tell you about a debate in our parliament the 23rd of October 2007. It was a debate about a resolution that the Council of Europe took in the beginning of October – Prostitution with stance to take?

In that debate our minister of Justice, Beatrice Ask, said (anförande 123) that the problem with the resolution is that there is a policy in it that says that they the Council of Europe states should respect peoples free choice to work as sexworkers and that the state should listen to sexworkers in questions concerning us.
She thinks that’s wrong!

Swedens minister of Justice says open in our parliament that the government in Sweden should not listen to sexworkers in questions concerning us!!!

I sincerely hope that knowledge, facts, common sense and a pragmatic and humane policy triumphs over ignorance, prejudice, racism, moral hysteria and career driven politician’s springboards.

Because countries which adopt the Swedish laws about prostitution can calculate on that robbery, ill treatment and rape of sexworkers will grow, that the policy that comes along with such laws will imply more discrimination towards sexworkers and that sexworkers will be to afraid to go to the police if they need help. Communication between sexworkers and authorities will collapse, collaboration will become aggravated and sexual trafficking will be hard to detect.

We have already seen this happen in Sweden. Don’t make the same mistake!

Isabella Lund
Sexworker in Sweden
January 07, 2008

You can read more about the situation in Sweden at SANS web page. A report that is very useful to get information about Sweden and our laws is a Norwegian report from 2004. Here at my blog you can read in English, Lies about sexwork in Sweden and How abolitionists spend their time!!!

Those who say men are buying our bodies are guilty of preserving an unequal view of women; we are being objectified as a commodity. Our protests that claim a difference of opinion are ignored or made an exception.

Our customers do not oppress us; we are being oppressed by this point of view! How will we ever achieve equality if such a prejudice and stereotypes are allowed to persist?

It is contra feministic to say that men should take responsibility for my decision as a woman and as a sexworker. Why should men take responsibility for my choice to work with sex, because I am a woman who likes sex?

In the spring of 2007 the Swedish newspapers Aftonbladet and Expressen carried out a reader’s opinion poll that showed that the support for the sex-purchase law in Sweden is only 36 percent. Most Swedes wants to decriminalise prostitution.

Cowardice asks the question, “Is it safe?” Expediency asks the question, “Is it politic?.” Vanity asks the question, “Is it popular?.” But, conscience asks the question, “Is it right?.” And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one’s conscience tells one that it is right.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

No man treats a car as foolishly as he treats another human being. When the car will not go, he does not attribute its annoying behaviour to sin; he does not say ‘you are a wicked motorcar and I shall not give you any more petroleum until you go. He attempts to find out what is wrong and to set it right.

Bertrand Russell


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