Scotland’s Sex Trade Fight Looks To Success Of Swedish Model

Daily Record (Scotland) Mar 13 2008

Groundbreaking laws that have almost wiped out prostitution in Sweden could be introduced in Scotland. The Swedes stopped punishing the prostitutes – and instead criminalised the men who buy sex. Before the legislation came in nine years ago, 2500 women worked Stockholm’s streets. Now there are 100. And the number of punters has dropped by 80 per cent. A delegation of experts from Sweden this week visited Glasgow in the first step of a campaign to make paying for sex illegal in Scotland.

In Sweden, 1650 men have been convicted for buying sex. They faced up to six months in jail but all were fined Stockholm Detective Inspector Jonas Trolle, who is part of the delegation, says indoor prostitution is every bit as harmful to the women. He said: “You need at least five customers a day for it to be profitable. “One case I was involved in, the woman took 17 customers one evening and she was not able to walk from the flat afterwards. Is this a question of free will, when you can’t even walk?” Trolle is part of a unit dedicated to tackling the sex trade and admits that the attitude of the police was one of the biggest stumbling blocks. Cops, like the rest of society, had a tacit acceptance of the sex industry and some sympathised with the punters. A retraining programme exposed both the plight of the women and the connection between the sex trade and organised crime.