Swedish minister faces prostitution claims

Jul 10, 2010 2:23 PM | By Sapa-dpa

A sex scandal is rocking the Swedish government in the run-up to general elections, with the Aftonbladet newspaper reporting – three days after his resignation – that labour minister Sven Otto Littorin once hired a prostitute.

Paying for sex has been a crime in Sweden since 1999. Proven interactions with prostitutes are punishable with fines and, in some cases, imprisonment.

The affair is all the more explosive because Littorin, 44, did not mention the paper’s allegations while announcing his resignation on Wednesday, even though he reportedly had been informed of the charges shortly before. Continue reading

AU: Attorney General challenges anti-prostitution lobby

Thursday, 17 June 2010
Prostitution will always be around and it is impossible to police a blanket ban, Attorney General tells community forum

By Anthony Barich

WA Attorney General Christian Porter has turned the debate on legalising brothels on its head, challenging anti-prostitution advocates to come up with a better solution than his planned legislation to restrict brothels to “entertainment zones”.

While conceding prostitution is “morally objectionable”, a blanket law criminalising it is unenforceable and legislation that permits it in specific zones is the only feasible solution, Mr Porter told a community forum in Belmont on 8 June.

“I do believe that you have to have some kind of level of prostitution which is permitted, strictly regulated for the health and safety of the people in it, because of the fact that it has always existed and because of the fact that we have not been successful over successive decades in stopping it, notwithstanding a law which says it shouldn’t exist anywhere,” Mr Porter told a forum of over 100 at Belmont’s RSL Club. Continue reading

SWEDEN: Women are not children – remember? Flawed ideas about improving the sex-purchase law

From The Other Swedish Model
Gender, sex and culture, by Laura Agustín

Much of my work revolves around prostitution law, sex worker rights and the cultural study of commercial sex: see Border Thinking, where I blog several times a week. I wrote the following piece after some people in Sweden welcomed a parliamentarian’s suggestion that Sweden change to a regulatory regime that comes from the 19th century.

Does sexköpslagen, the law against buying sex, work or not? Everyone wants to know. Camilla Lindberg is right that talking about the possibility that the law does not work is taboo in Sweden. The government’s official evaluation of the law has been delayed, probably because it has not been easy to find evidence to demonstrate the reasons behind an absence. That is, you may look around and not see sex workers and their customers where you did before. But you cannot know whether they have stopped buying and selling sex or, if they have not stopped, where they have gone.

Evaluators will question police and social workers, and maybe get to speak to a few sex workers, but none of these can give an overview of sex markets that operate via private telephones and the Internet, in the privacy of homes and hotel rooms. And evaluators certainly cannot say how many people are doing what. Street prostitutes are estimated in some countries to constitute less than ten per cent of all sex workers, so, even if there are few left to see, 90% are unaccounted for. When businesses that sell sex are outlawed, they hide, so government accountants are unlikely to find them – and, after all, many are just individuals working alone.

But if we want to discuss the whole sex industry more openly, we should not focus on the concept of brothels, as Lindberg suggests – particularly not on the idea of health checks for workers. This 19th-century French idea could not be more patriarchal and thus the very opposite of jämställdhet, sexköpslagens guiding principle. Basic common sense tells us that, if disease-transmission is a concern, all parties exchanging fluids have to practice safer sex – not ‘be checked’. And although laws in the Netherlands, Germany, New Zealand, Nevada and parts of Australia allow and regulate brothels as one form of commercial sex, many people who sell sex in those countries prefer to work on their own, in small groups in flats or – yes – on the street. In France, organised sex workers vociferously oppose a proposed return to the old system of maisons closes with health controls that stigmatise prostitutes as (female) carriers of sexually-transmitted diseases…

Read the rest at The Other Swedish Model

SWEAT Statement on Research Seminar: Prostitution in South Africa: developing a research agenda

13 April 2010

The Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) and Sisonke Sex
Worker Movement note with regret the press release circulated on the
Health Systems Trust “60%” mailing list on 12 April 2010.

SWEAT, Sisonke and sex work researchers are concerned about a number of
aspects of the research seminar entitled “Prostitution in South Africa:
developing a research agenda” organised under the auspices of the Medical
Research Council (MRC), the Embrace Dignity Campaign and the Coalition
Against Trafficking in Women.

We highlight a few concerns here:

1. The press release notes that the research presented will
“assist the law-makers on deciding which legal model is most suitable for
South Africa.” Yet, the seminar agenda only includes presentation slots
for discussion of the “Swedish model” (partial criminalisation) of sex
work and does not allow for research findings on the other legal models in Continue reading

Prostitution debate rages worldwide

Natalie Alcoba, National Post
Friday, Oct. 16, 2009

A prostitute in Amsterdam’s red light district. The debate around legalizing the sex trade rages in many countries around the world, including Canada. – Anoek de Groot/AFP/Getty Images

One of the latest battlegrounds for the highly charged issue of prostitution – is it violence, is it a job? – is Britain, home to an estimated 80,000 sex workers, and an untold number of johns.

Horrified by the 2006 murders of five women who sold sex for a living, legislators and activists are debating how government should be controlling the age-old profession. Advocates fall into two camps: those who want to follow Sweden’s lead and ban the purchase of sex, and those who say decriminalizing it, like New Zealand, is the right move. Continue reading

IL: Reform advocates push for overhaul of prostitution law

Advocates target customers, seek help for women

By Erika Slife, Tribune reporter
September 17, 2009

They can be lawyers, doctors, CEOs and even police officers. They’re often somebody’s husband, boyfriend or father.

But the public may know them better as johns. And far too often, former prostitutes and their advocates say, they’re getting away with their crimes.

“I went to jail, and he didn’t,” said former prostitute LaTaunya Frazier, 39, who was caught with a john. “I never really understood that because we’re both committing the crime. If he wasn’t buying, I wouldn’t be selling. I never thought that was fair. … They get to go home to their families, their wives, and no one knows what they did.”

Johns and pimps are severely underrepresented on arrest logs, but starting Thursday, reform advocates will push for an overhaul of state law to give police departments the resources to go after leaders and customers of prostitution rings. They also want prostitutes to be eligible for protections and benefits afforded to victims of sex trafficking because many of the women suffer from the same elements of recruitment, harboring and force. Continue reading

Scotland: Should prostitution be given the red light?

Published on 20 Sep 2009

Plans are afoot to make it a crime to buy sex in Scotland. Is this the way forward? Ahead of a major debate on the proposal, we present five spirited arguments

The feminist campaigner

By Julie bindel

The laws on prostitution are not working. Currently, women are criminalised, making it more difficult to leave prostitution, and the men who pay for sex, at least in brothels, remain unchallenged. Not surprisingly, demand for sexual services has increased. Why does this matter? That depends on whether you believe in equality between men and women. Prostitution creates and maintains the sexual subordination of women. As long as men can buy women’s bodies we can never be equal. So Labour’s expected amendment to the Criminal Justice and Licensing Bill (Scotland), which would make it a crime to buy sex, would be welcome. Continue reading