Sweden to evaluate prostitution law by 2010 amid international interest

Thursday, April 24, 2008

STOCKHOLM, Sweden: Sweden appointed a special investigator Thursday to evaluate the effects of a law that targets the buyers of sex instead of the prostitutes.

Justice Minister Beatrice Ask said the evaluation, to be completed by 2010, is warranted partly because of the growing international interest in the law, which was introduced in 1999.

“There are many good reasons to prevent prostitution and the harm it can lead to for individuals as well as for society,” Ask said in a statement. “An investigation to thoroughly analyze these issues is both important and long-awaited.”

Many countries considering a similar law are eager to find out whether it has reduced the sex trade in Sweden, or merely driven it underground.

Buying sex is punished by fines or up to six months in prison under the so-called “Sex Purchase Law.” But selling sex is not a crime because prostitutes are viewed as victims.

In January, a high-level British delegation came to study the Swedish approach as Britain reviews its own prostitution laws, which prohibit soliciting and loitering for sex, but not buying sex. Norway’s plans to introduce a Swedish-style prostitution law in 2009.

Swedish Supreme Court Justice Anna Skarhed will lead the investigation.



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