Sweden to evaluate effects of prostitution law

Paying for sex has been illegal in Sweden for nearly ten years, and now the government wants to evaluate the law's impact.

Sweden to evaluate effects of prostitution law

Not only are members of the Riksdag interested in learning more about the effects of the law, but international observers are also curious to know more about how the prohibition against paying for sexual services has affected the sex trade and human trafficking.

The government on Thursday appointed Supreme Court Justice Anna Skarhed to lead an official inquiry into the matter.

The inquiry will examine how the law functions in practice and seek to determine what effects it has had on prostitution and human trafficking for sexual purposes in Sweden. The inquiry may also suggest changes to the law if so needed.

Until 1999 it was legal both to sell and purchase sex in Sweden, although there were prohibitions against operating brothels and profiting from the sexual labour of others.

The law introduced that year made it a crime to pay for sex, and in so doing shifted the blame for prostitution away from prostitutes and onto customers.

The primary motivation for the investigation is to determine whether Sweden should keep the law on the books.

“That the investigation now thoroughly analyzes these questions is both important and needed. Not least when one considers the international interest in this question,” said Minster of Justice Beatrice Ask in a statement.

The inquiry is expected to deliver its findings no later than April 30th, 2010.