Sex Work and Human Rights

Posts tagged “Sexköpslagen

Sweden: No Country for Sex-Working Mothers

No Country for Sex-Working Mothers [Photo by 12019-10269 images, Fingerprint by Kurios]

Sex-working mother loses custody of her child 1

Östra Göinge, Sweden. January 13, 2018.

Mother is devastated by court ruling. 

The mother worked as a sex worker in a village in Östra Göinge, where she advertised  her services via the internet. She started doing so after running into financial troubles when her son was only two to three months. She invited men into her apartment and had sex with them for money. Her earnings amounted to around 2,000-2,300 euros per month. 

The mother and her son lived more or less isolated, except for the visits from her clients, who stopped having sex with the mother if the boy woke up in his crib next to the bed. The mother said the boy never seemed to be scared but was curious of them. When the boy would wake up, the men went home, understanding the situation since they had children of their own, according to the Administrative Court’s ruling. 

Everything came into the open after a concerned person reported the mother to social services, whereupon the son was taken into care. This happened without any formal evaluation of the situation, although the mother’s actions were confirmed by her online ads. 

The Administrative Court attached special importance to the fact that the mother had invited strangers buying sex into her home. According to the court, the overall situation meant that there was a significant risk that the son’s health and development would be harmed. 

By her own account, the mother closed the book on sex work since her son was taken into care. However, the Administrative Court believed there was a risk that she would repeat her behaviour and has therefore decided that the son should remain in state care in accordance with the Care of Young Persons Act (LVU). In addition, the court held that the mother had shown indifference regarding the safety and protection of her son by bringing male strangers to her apartment. 

Instead of sex work, the mother will now look for other work and in the meantime, she has applied for government support, although she  realises that those payments won’t be as high as the 2,000-2,300 euros she earned from sex work. The woman also stated that she had resumed contact with her own mother, who had promised to help her. 

According to the Administrative Court she is “devastated about the consequences for her son”. She can appeal against the court ruling at the Administrative Court of Appeals in Gothenburg within three weeks. 

CCJ Article

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Translation for SWAT by Ophelia Eglentyn from Fuckförbundet, an association founded in Sweden in the spring of 2017, by and for sex workers.

Fuckförbundet“Our two key functions are to uphold a community that offers support for all kinds of sex workers in Sweden, and to raise the awareness on sex workers rights and the negative impacts from the current set of laws. … If your feminism excludes marginalized groups of people then it’s not worthy of it’s name.”

You can follow Fuckförbundet on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

SWAT  – Sex Workers + Allies Translate, Edit + Design

SWAT Logo © Helen Chan for SWAT

“The aim of SWAT is not only to provide sex workers and allies with a network to enable sex work knowledge sharing across as cultural and language barriers, but also to reward contributors for their work whenever possible.”

Please click here for information about SWAT in 18 languages. Please contact SWAT via email if you would like to contribute your skills. You are also invited to join the SWAT Facebook group.


The Swedish original of this article was written by Carl-Johan Liljedahl and first published as “Barn till prostituerad omhändertas” (Child of prostitute taken into care) at Kristianstadsbladet (January 13th, 2018). The terms “prostitution/prostitute” and “sex buyer” were replaced with “sex work/sex worker” and “client.” The copyright for the original article lies with Kristianstadsbladet. It is not licensed under a Creative Commons License.

The images and tweets above and below did not appear in the original article. Translations of articles do not represent endorsements of titles, images, terms used or views expressed therein, or of the authors who have written or the media outlets that published them. 

Photo: 12019/10269 Images Illustration: Kurios (Pixabay); Font: Last Soundtrack


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Kuosmanen: La loi contre l’achat de sexe crée un faux optimisme

Jari Kuosmanen - Photo by Åbo Underrättelser. All Rights Reserved.Questionnant la loi contre l’achat de sexe: Jari Kuosmanen, professeur associé au Département de Travail Social de l’Université de Göteborg, dit que l’offre et la demande pour des services sexuels en Suède n’a pas diminué depuis la fin des années 1990. Photo: Åbo Underrättelser.

A propos de cette traduction

En 2014, le Parlement Européen, l’Assemblée d’Irlande du Nord, et le Parlement Canadien ont vote en faveur de lois qui criminalisent l’achat de services sexuels, une mesure communément référée comme le Modèle Suédois. Pendant ce temps, la Commission Spéciale du Sénat français, la Chambre des Communes du Royaume Uni, et la Commission électorale de Justice du Parlement Néo-Zélandais ont rejeté une telle démarche.

Les défenseurs du Modèle Suédois prétendent que la loi a mené à une diminution du nombre d’acheteurs et de vendeurs de services sexuels. Cependant, selon Ann Jordan de l’Université Américaine Centre pour les Droits Humains et le Droit Humanitaire, le gouvernement suédois ne sait en fait pas “si la loi a causé une quelconque réduction du nombre d’acheteurs de services sexuels, de travailleurSEs du sexe, de victimes de traite, ou de travailleurSEs du sexe migrantEs”. Comme Jordan l’explique, les affirmations d’un ‘succès’ manquent de preuves fiables, et la source de ces affirmations “est principalement un court résumé en anglais d’un rapport du gouvernement”.

Tandis que le travail sexuel de rue a initialement chuté, Jay Levy et Pye Jakobsson soutiennent que la recherche suggère qu’il est depuis retourné à ses niveaux antérieurs, et qu’il reste difficile de savoir si le déclin initial a été causé par la loi ou d’autres facteurs. En ce qui concerne la baisse présumée des acheteurs de services sexuels, les chercheuses suédoises Susanne Dodillet et Petra Östergren soulignent que le résumé en anglais mentionné ci-dessus cite une enquête, qui suggère que moins d’hommes ont acheté des services sexuels en comparaison à une étude de 1996, mais il oublie cruellement de citer les réserves exprimées par la personne qui l’a elle-même conduite: Jari Kuosmanen. Alors que les défenseurs du Modèle Suédois et les activistes anti-prostitution continuent de citer ses résultats comme preuve soutenant leurs opinions, Kuosmanen explique dans cette interview le manque de preuves de l’efficacité de la loi.

S’il vous plait, notez que le droit d’auteur pour cet article réside avec Åbo Underrättelser et n’est pas sous license Creative Commons.

La loi contre l’achat de sexe crée un faux optimisme | Par Dan Lolax

Les politiciens Finlandais qui veulent suivre l’approche suédoise et introduire une interdiction totale d’acheter des services sexuels devraient réfléchir à deux fois. Il n’y a rien pour étayer l’allégation que la prostitution a diminué en Suède depuis que le pays a établi la loi en 1999, dit Jari Kuosmanen, professeur associé à l’Université de Göteborg, qui a été le premier à évaluer les effets de la loi. Selon lui, le problème est que les politiciens n’ont pas base le changement de législation sur la recherche. (more…)


Kuosmanen: Sex Purchase Act Creates False Optimism

Jari Kuosmanen - Photo by Åbo Underrättelser. All Rights Reserved.Questioning the Sex Purchase Act: Jari Kuosmanen, associate professor in the Department of Social Work at the University of Gothenburg, says that supply and demand for sexual services in Sweden has not declined since the late 1990s. Photo: Åbo Underrättelser. All Rights Reserved.

About this translation

In 2014, the European Parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly, and the Canadian Parliament all voted in favour of laws to criminalise the purchase of sexual services, a measure commonly referred to as the Swedish Model. Meanwhile, the Select Committee of the French Senate, the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, and the Justice and Electoral Committee of the New Zealand Parliament rejected such a move.

Advocates for the Swedish Model claim that the law has led to declining numbers of buyers and sellers of sexual services. However, according to Ann Jordan from the American University’s Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, the Swedish government doesn’t actually know “whether the law caused any reduction in the number of sex buyers, sex workers, trafficking victims or migrant sex workers”. As Jordan explains, claims of its ‘success’ lack reliable evidence, and the source of such claims “is primarily the government’s initial and short English-language summary”.

While street-based sex work dropped initially, Jay Levy and Pye Jakobsson argue that research suggests it has since returned to previous levels, and that it remains unclear if the initial decline was caused by the law or other factors. With regards to the alleged decline of sex buyers, Swedish researchers Susanne Dodillet and Petra Östergren point out that the aforementioned English-language summary cites a survey, which suggests that fewer men had bought sex compared to a 1996 study, but crucially omits the reservations expressed by the very person who conducted it: Jari Kuosmanen. While advocates of the Swedish Model and anti-prostitution activists continue to cite his findings as evidence supporting their views, Kuosmanen explains in this interview the lack of evidence of the effectiveness of the law.

Please note that the copyright for this article lies with Åbo Underrättelser and is not licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Sex Purchase Act Creates False Optimism | By Dan Lolax

Finnish politicians who want to follow Sweden’s approach and introduce a total ban on buying sex should think twice. There is nothing to support the claim that prostitution in Sweden has decreased since the country established the law in 1999, says Jari Kuosmanen, associate professor at the University of Gothenburg, who was the first to evaluate the effects of the law. According to him, the problem is that politicians didn’t base the legislative change on research.

That the law regarding the purchase of sex is described as a success is a statement based on assessments by the police and social services. “It gives a completely false image of supply and demand for sexual services. Street prostitution has gone down, yes, and it is now dominated by Eastern European and African women. But hidden prostitution is difficult to access”, says Kuosmanen, adding that even before the amendment, two-thirds of prostitution occurred indoors.

Overall, the Swedes feel positive about the ban on buying sex. Approximately seventy percent support it, more women than men, but that does not mean that the Swedes think that it has any effect, he says, referring to his evaluation. The effects have not so much to do with the law as it has to do with police resources, says Kuosmanen. The number of arrests per year varies, sometimes there can be as many as three hundred.

If the police, after lengthy investigations, manages to blow up a trafficking ring it will create good statistics. Many clients confess right away to avoid a trial and public shame, says Jari Kuosmanen. “But such crackdowns were possible even before the amendment because pimping was not allowed before 1999.

Prostitution in Sweden has become a political issue, for better or for worse, he says. There are politicians who travel to Nordic countries and praise the law without having any evidence of its success. Instead of basing their statements on research, politicians cite the government’s assumptions, which according to Kuosmanen, are often biased.

His colleagues and him were thwarted by social welfare authorities when they proposed to establish a prostitution research centre. “The risk is of course that we researcher find something out that goes against the purpose of the law.”

In the evaluation of the law in 2010, two years after Jari Kuosmanen’s research on the effect of the law, the working group consisted of lawyers only. “The impression one got was that the instructions were: ‘Do as you please, just don’t do anything to undermine the law.’”

The reason that he doubts that the law has had the effect politicians claim it does is that the scope of supply does not seem to have decreased. The proportion of Swedish men who bought sex was ten percent, according to Kuosmanens evaluation report in 2008. That figure was a drop compared to 1996, when it was thirteen percent. “But when the question was asked in 1996, buying sex was not illegal as it is now. And how many will admit that they committed a crime?” Seventy percent of the men who buy sex do it abroad. This figure has not changed since the Act came into force.

Jari Kuosmanen’s message to Finnish politicians is to not forget that prostitution is a multifaceted phenomenon. There is not an overall agreement among researchers in Sweden, he admits, but some of them cannot with a clear conscience say that the law had an effect. What Kuosmanen can say is that prostitution can not only be met with legislative changes. “Prostitution has so many faces. There are miserable experiences, but there are also others.”

Right now, Kuosmanen is conducting research on male sex workers and people who engage in sex work as a kind of rebellion to go against the mainstream, have fun and make money. His point is that issues regarding prostitution must be allowed to be seen as complex as any other societal issues.

“If authorities and politicians try to create some uniform picture, their credibility disappears”, says Kuosmanen, and urges Finnish politicians to do proper research before any change of the law. Only in this way can the legal effect be determined and properly evaluated.


This article was written by Dan Lolax and published by Åbo Underrättelser, a newspaper in Åbo, Sweden. Click here to view the Swedish original. Please note that the copyright for this article and the photo above lies with Åbo Underrättelser and is not licensed under a Creative Commons License. The photo below did not appear in the original article.

Translation by Anonymous. Every effort has been made to translate this article verbatim. However, on some occasions, the wording and word order were slightly altered for better understanding.

No to the Swedish Model - Protest at Stormont, Belfast - Photo by Matt Lemon Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Photo: Sign used during the protest by sex workers and allies against the introduction of a sex purchase ban in Northern Ireland. © 2014 Matt Lemon Photography | Please read the copyright notice