• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Opinion
'Sweden needs to find new ways to tackle prostitution'
Traffickers are using new means to get around Sweden's sex-purchase laws. Photo: Tobias Röstlund/Scanpix

'Sweden needs to find new ways to tackle prostitution'

The Local · 16 Feb 2016, 11:09

Published: 16 Feb 2016 07:41 GMT+01:00
Updated: 16 Feb 2016 11:09 GMT+01:00

Last week the Swedish police reported an increase in human traffickers taking advantage of people renting out their homes through online marketing platforms such as Airbnb. This is an obvious nightmare for anyone whose bed has been used to host this kind of sexual exploitation, but an even more nightmarish situtation for people being prostituted, often having to face numerous sex-buyers every day.

The vast majority of people exploited in prostitution are trafficked into it. Therefore, when people rent apartments through these sites, with the intention not to live there themselves but instead to use the home to run a brothel, they are in fact intentionally luring innocent people into contributing to what is best described as transnational organized crime.

Traffickers are often quick at adapting their way of conducting their illegal activities to the current situation in the country in which they operate. Sweden's sex purchase act, which criminalizes the buying of sex rather than the selling (the 'Nordic model' if you will), has come to be regarded as the archetype for preventing prostitution and trafficking of human beings for sexual purposes. Knowledge among Swedes about severe crimes such as these is comparatively high, and the same goes for support for the aforementioned law.

It is safe to assume that hotels have been considered up until now as one of the preferred arenas for traffickers organizing prostitution. However, due to professional and effective cooperation between the hotel sector and the authorities, many cases of sex-purchase offences have been exposed and reported to the police.

Because of the significant increase in knowledge among hotel staff to be alert to possible prostitution at their workplace, traffickers now seem in desperate need of new venues to ensure the continuation of their criminal activities without being detected by police. This, combined with the fact that people renting out their apartments simply aren't aware of the increasing potential risk of their homes being transformed into a temporary brothel, creates a worrying situation in need of serious measures.

To tackle this new trend in Sweden in a satisfying way, the police badly need more resources. This has even been pointed out many times by the police themselves. This is no exception. Even though officers are fully aware of the current situation, a lack of resources is holding back effective action.

Also, online prostitution is unquestionably a phenomenon which by its nature extends to all parts of the country. Therefore, it is of utmost concern that the prostitution units within the police department are mostly stationed in big cities.


Maria Ahlin, left, and Sudeshna Chowdhury of Freethem. Photo: Freethem/Ulrika Norman

Besides being adopted and continuing to be adopted by other countries, Sweden's sex purchase act has also been saluted internationally by many, the European Parliament being just one example. But for Sweden to still proudly carry its recognized crown, it is now time to ramp up.

Story continues below…

We urge the Swedish government to provide proper funding to authorities, first and foremost to the police and to the National Board of Health and Welfare, so that they in turn are able to act proportionally in combatting prostitution, sexual exploitation and sex-trafficking of human beings.

We know from decades of research that prostitution is harmful both to the individuals involved and to society as a whole. No country would accept having, let's say, only a few police officers focusing on drug-related issues, therefore no country should ever accept the same priorities when it comes to preventing prostitution and sex-trafficking of people.

This is an opinion piece written exclusively for The Local by Maria Ahlin and Sudeshna Chowdhury, president and political representative of international youth movement Freethem, preventing prostitution and exploitation.

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
Why this Swedish restaurant is launching a dog menu
Forget ice cream, hungry Swedish dogs can now drink beefy beer. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

A Gothenburg eatery has unveiled a menu specially designed for dogs in an effort to attract new customers.

How the Swedish Church used taxes to fund lavish trips
File photo of a Swedish priest. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

A trip to Malta for 99 people was among those funded by the church coffers.

Stockholm couple crash car during rowdy romp
Never forget to put the handbrake on. Photo: YB Södermalm

A pair of hapless Stockholm lovers decide to get intimate in their car on Monday, but it was all downhill from there.

Why Sweden is now the EU's most competitive economy
Sweden has been ranked as the EU's most competitive economy. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

It's beating European giants such as Germany and the United Kingdom by miles, according to a key global ranking.

Is this the best cafe in Sweden to grab a fika?
Annas Hembageri in Mariefred. Photo: Sofia Marcetic/TT

Fill up the coffee cup and help yourself to a 'kanelbulle'. This is Sweden's best café according to food experts.

Poll shows cost of spring crisis for Swedish government
Swedish PM Stefan Löfven and Deputy PM Isabella Lövin at a cabinet reshuffle in May. Photo: Erik Nylander/TT

The survey suggests the current Swedish government would not receive the largest share of votes if an election were held in May.

Presented by Malmö Town
How Malmö is becoming the next hub for foodies
A dish at Malmö restaurant Bord13. Photo: Gustav Arnetz

When you think Malmö, do you think cheap falafel? Think again.

Fewer than 500 of 163,000 asylum seekers found jobs
Migration offices in Sweden. Photo: Marcus Ericsson/TT

Of almost 163,000 people who applied for asylum in Sweden last year, fewer than 500 landed a job, according to a new report.

Opinion
The eight ingredients that created the Swedish model
Where did the Swedish model begin? Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

What is the Swedish model and who invented it? Thinktank chairman Anders Källström presents the eight reasons behind Sweden's success.

Sweden lack fire without Zlatan in Slovenian stalemate
Sweden coach Erik Hamrén. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

But who are the other players who got a chance to shine ahead of the Euro 2016?

Sponsored Article
Why Stockholm attracts so many successful researchers
Gallery
Property of the week: Mariestad
Sponsored Article
Stockholm makes it easier for refugees to meet startups
National
How this Swede was turned down for a job because of her head scarf
National
Swedish police trial use of taser guns
Blog updates

27 May

Editor’s blog, May 27th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, Would you spend a day doing manual labour in high heels? That’s what Swedish…" READ »

 

17 May

What about “att”? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! It often seems like the small words are the ones that cause the most confusion.…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
'Only soft power can defeat radicalism'
National
'Sweden would not be able to defend Gotland'
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Gallery
People-watching: May 27th-29th
National
First migrants make it from Denmark to Sweden on foot
Gallery
The best, cutest and funniest snaps from Prince Oscar's christening
Sponsored Article
'Sweden gives artists the space to follow their dreams'
Travel
Is this town the best place in Sweden?
Sponsored Article
'A sustainable Sweden must embrace diversity'
Gallery
People-watching: May 25th
Society
WATCH: Why Swedish handyman wore pink high heels for feminism
Sponsored Article
How to find student housing in Malmö: 5 tips
Sport
LIST: Top-ten ridiculous things Zlatan has compared himself to
Sponsored Article
Can you afford to live in Stockholm? (Hint: yes)
Business & Money
Why Swedes don't want the euro
Fastighetsbyrån
Gallery
Property of the week: Vika, Falun
Sponsored Article
Food, fun, and reliable sun: Summer in Dubrovnik
National
Is this the most Swedish tattoo ever?
Sponsored Article
How Stockholm startups help new employees feel at home
Gallery
People-watching: May 20th-22nd
Sponsored Article
VIDEO: Why Malmö is the world's 6th best city for biking
National
How to really annoy a Swede abroad
Sponsored Article
'Sweden gives artists the space to follow their dreams'
National
How this war veteran is warming hearts in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Gallery
People-watching: May 18th
Sponsored Article
Can you afford to live in Stockholm? (Hint: yes)
National
How this Swede's viral ad totally nailed Stockholm's housing crisis
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
Property of the week: Vasastaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Stockholm makes it easier for refugees to meet startups
Lifestyle
The best Swedish cities for dating
Gallery
People-watching: May 13th-15th
Culture
BLOG: Eurovision as it happened
3,315
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se