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More men in Sweden sell sex than women: study

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07:31 CET+01:00
More than twice as many young men in Sweden sell sex as do women, a study published Monday by the Swedish National Board for Youth Affairs (Ungdomsstyrelsen) said.

According to the study, 2.1 percent of Swedish males aged 16 to 25 said they had prostituted themselves in 2012, compared to 0.8 percent of women.

While young women almost exclusively sold sex to men, young Swedish men sold sex to both men and women.

"Behind these figures, there are about 20,000 people who need help," said Marie Nyman, a spokeswoman for the board.

"We have a hard time understanding why guys outnumber girls," she said.

The study also found a strong connection between paying for sex and sexual violence, with 78 percent of those who reported having sold sex said they has also been sexually assaulted.

A representative for the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (Riksförbundet för sexuell upplysning – RFSU) told the news agency TT that it could be speculated that young gay men "have an easier time accepting their sexuality if they do it in exchange for something, like a few beers or a recharge of their phone card."

The study found that 21.9 percent of youths aged 16 to 25 "think it is acceptable that others have sexual relations in exchange for compensation," adding that young men are in general more tolerant than young women.

Half of the clients of male and female prostitutes under the age of 26 were also under the age of 26, Nyman said.

In Sweden, selling sex is not a crime, however paying or attempting to pay for sex is punishable by fines. Anyone convicted of purchasing sex from a minor can be sentenced to up to two years in prison.

The new report also uncovered that fewer young people are publishing "sexy" images and film clips online compared to 2009.

Back then, 7.8 percent reported having posted sexually-themed images on the internet, compared to 4.7 percent today.

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The study was based on responses from the 2,254 Swedes questioned in the survey.

A 2006 study published in a US medical journal specialized in sexually transmitted diseases, entitled "Estimates of the Number of Female Sex Workers in Different Regions of the World", showed that Sweden had one of the lowest rates of female prostitution in the world, at just 0.1 percent.

AFP/The Local

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