Vuolajärvi, N. “Governing in the Name of Caring—the Nordic Model of Prostitution and its Punitive Consequences for Migrants Who Sell Sex” Sex Res Soc Policy (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13178-018-0338-9
This article examines the so-called “Nordic model” in action. Using feminist argumentation, the model aims to abolish commercial sex by criminalizing the buying of sexual services while not criminalizing the selling, as the aim is to protect, rather than punish, women. Utilizing over 2 years of ethnographic fieldwork and 195 interviews in Sweden, Norway, and Finland, this article argues that in a situation where the majority of people who sell sex in the region are migrants, the regulation of commercial sex has shifted from prostitution to immigration policies, resulting in a double standard in the governance of national and foreign sellers of sexual services. Client criminalization has a minor role in the regulation of commercial sex in the area, and instead, migrants become targets of punitive regulation executed through immigration and third-party laws. Nationals are provided social welfare policies to assist exit from commercial sex such as therapeutic counseling, whereas foreigners are excluded from state services and targeted with punitive measures, like deportations and evictions. My fieldwork reveals a tension between the stated feminist-humanitarian aims of the model, to protect and save women, and the punitivist governance of commercial sex that in practice leads to control, deportations, and women’s conditions becoming more difficult. The article concludes that when examined in action, the Nordic model is a form of humanitarian governance that I call punitivist humanitarianism, or governing in the name of caring.
The purpose of this study is to examine how men who sell sex to men perceive the risks in this activity and what experiences they have of actual denigration, threats, and violence in their relations with customers. We also discuss the self-defense strategies they have used to protect themselves. The study is based on an Internet survey on Swedish websites. Statistical analyses have been carried out, and in interpreting the results, Finkelhor and Asdigian’s revised routine activities theory has been used. The results show that the vulnerability of sellers of sex is greatest during the time when the sexual act is being performed, and that this is primarily linked to the customer’s antagonism and seeking gratification by overstepping agreed boundaries, particularly with regard to sexual services including BDSM. Their vulnerability was also connected to the seller’s diminished capacity for self-protection due to personal and external pressures. A smaller proportion of the men described risk prevention activities. These involved refusing a customer after an initial contact, protecting themselves from infection, being on their guard during the whole process, selecting the place, and deciding not to carry out certain sexual acts. An important implication concerns the occupational health and safety that men who sell sex to men can develop for themselves, while remaining within the law. International studies have demonstrated that selling sex in collective, indoor forms provides the greatest security. For decades, Swedish prostitution policy has had the ambition of reducing prostitution through targeting those who purchase sex, and those who promote prostitution in criminal legislation. This effectively prevents more systematic and collective attempts to create safer conditions for selling sex. In conclusion, it can be stated that while it is legal to sell sex in Sweden, this is done at the seller’s own risk.
In this article, we present and discuss the intended and unintended effects of the Swedish Sex Purchase Act, which criminalises the purchase of sex within a context where the sale of sex is legal. Whether or not this means of regulating prostitution is successful, and whether it has negative consequences for people who sell sex, are important questions in international policy and academic debates. This article builds on a scoping study aimed at identifying relevant sources of information as to the consequences of the Swedish Sex Purchase Act, then summarising and discussing these findings. The article offers policy makers and scholars a comprehensive presentation of the evidence and a discussion of the methodological, political and theoretical challenges arising from this.
While the debate on regulating prostitution usually focuses on national policy, it is local policy measures that have the most impact on the ground. This book is the first to offer a detailed analysis of the design and implementation of prostitution policy at the local level and carefully situates local policy practices in national policy making and transnational trends in labour migration and exploitation. Based on detailed comparative research in Austria and the Netherlands, and bringing in experiences in countries such as New Zealand and Sweden, it analyses the policy instruments employed by local administrators to control prostitution and sex workers. Bridging the gap between theory and policy, emphasizing the multilevel nature of prostitution policy, while also highlighting more effective policies on prostitution, migration and labour exploitation, this unique book fills a gap in the literature on this contentious and important social issue.
The book is available for free under CC-License and can be shared and distributed freely from here.
Ola Florin, “A Particular Kind of Violence: Swedish Social Policy Puzzles of a Multipurpose Criminal Law” Sexuality Research and Social Policy, September 2012, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 269-278
This article explores the policy underpinning Sweden’s 1999 ban on purchases of sexual services with a focus on the social and health service sectors and their role vis-à-vis people who sell sex. It argues that the rationale behind the ban is difficult to reconcile with legislation and practices beyond the merit of criminal justice. While an understanding of prostitution as “men’s violence against women” may serve symbolic functions at central policy level, it can hardly guide local implementation without conflicting with core social policy principles. The article concludes that there is a need to address the agency of people who sell sex, since denying or minimizing such agency may be counterproductive to the policy’s own objectives.
Full text available here.
Don Kulick, “Sex in the New Europe: The Criminalization of Clients and Swedish Fear of Penetration”. Anthropological Theory June 2003 vol. 3 no. 2, 199-218.
This article is a critical discussion of the 1998 Swedish law that made it a crime to purchase or attempt to purchase `a temporary sexual relationship’. It discusses the cultural context in which the law was proposed and passed, and it reviews newspaper articles and government commissioned reports that assess the effects of the law. The point of the article is to argue that the law is about much more than its overt referent `prostitution’. Instead, the argument is made that the law is a response to Sweden’s entry into the EU. For a variety of reasons, anxiety about Sweden’s position in the EU is articulated through anxiety about prostitution. The Swedish case is one where we can see that sexuality is one site where boundaries and roles in the new Europe are being imagined and negotiated.
Full text available here.