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Sweden unveils tougher penalties for buying sex

TT/Vivian Tse · 27 Jan 2011, 14:41

Published: 27 Jan 2011 14:41 GMT+01:00

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The maximum penalty for buying sexual services will increase on July 1st if the government has its way. The government has now proposed making it possible for the courts to impose sentences of up to one year in prison.

"After reviewing the first year of the law against buying sex, we found that almost all the sanctions, in 85 percent of cases, resulted in each offender having been fined 50 days' pay," Ask said at a press briefing on Thursday morning.

"Only a few cases have taken into account aggravating circumstances before the sanction is imposed. This is a concern because in many cases, there are reasons to look more seriously into the crime of buying sex," she added.

The basis for the proposal is a study that found that the criminalisation of buying sex helped to combat prostitution and trafficking, with the ban argued to have had a deterrent effect, according to a report in the Svenska Dagbladet daily.

"In many cases, there could be a penalty value for fines that can be higher than the maximum penalty for the crime of buying sex," said Ask.

"Like if buying sex had similarities with sex crimes like sexual assault and when there is an element of degradation in buying sex. The penalty scale is not sufficient and there is a need for a more nuanced assessment of the penalty value," she explained.

The government currently seeks to raise the maximum penalty for buying sex from the current six months in prison to one year as of July 1st.

Petra Östergren is a writer and social commentator who specialises in gender politics and prostitution issues. She is currently writing a report criticising the law with Swedish historian Susanne Dodillet that will be published in early March.

Story continues below…

An outspoken critic of Sweden's commercial sex laws, her views are at odds with other feminists.

"I just find it really curious what is happening right now," Östergren told The Local on Thursday.

TT/Vivian Tse (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:51 January 27, 2011 by RobinHood
Until now, judges have imposed a 50 day fine in 85% of cases. Just making it possible for judges to imprison Johns for up to a year doesn't mean they will do so. If Beatrice really meant business, she would have raised the minimum penalty, not the maximum.
15:54 January 27, 2011 by Swedesmith
I don't want to buy it. I just want to rent it for a few hours.
16:28 January 27, 2011 by Cosme Fulanito
"the crime of buying s3x" -> Wonder how they came into the conclusion that buying s3x is a crime.
16:51 January 27, 2011 by Nemesis
After it is shown that the present law is lunacy and encourages trafficking, the government decides to ensure it encourages more tafficking.

If Ask ever proposes a slave market in front of the Rikstag, I will not be in the slightest suprised.
16:55 January 27, 2011 by svenne101
i will buy sex in the other countries. they will get more jobs because of the business and sweden will loose business and more unemployment.
17:12 January 27, 2011 by thecraicer
Was I breaking the law when I bought my woman a diamond ring so she would put out more enthusiastically and more often?
17:36 January 27, 2011 by GLO
This is just NUTS.
17:45 January 27, 2011 by Zala Russe
This makes as much sense as prosecuting under-age buyers of cigarettes and booze rather than dealing directly with the supplier/ purveyor.
17:58 January 27, 2011 by Sweetdishgurl
They should start by having tougher immigration laws!
17:59 January 27, 2011 by Localer
why dont they punish the one who selling ???
18:30 January 27, 2011 by mojofat
Is prostitution really that big of a problem here?
18:39 January 27, 2011 by coot
They don't punish the ones selling because we have to say they are "victims" so that _soembody_ involved can be a victim. Of course, you can't punish the victim. For some reason, you can arrest her customers (reducing her income) but you can't help her find alternate employment...

If the ban on prostitution deters sex trafficing, then we would expect that places where prostitution is legal would have a worse problem. But in fact, legal prostitution has no need to smuggle in slaves from some other country because you can hire local girls legally, pay them well, and still make a nice profit operating a brothel. Just look at Germany or the US state of Nevada.
18:44 January 27, 2011 by Puge Henis
Beatrice Ask - A nut job if you ever need to see one.

Of course she wants only the buyer to be punished, the way she looks no one in the right mind would want to jump her bones... and she's a wh0re for the music and movie industries

(read up on her past "suggestions" on "curing piracy". It looks like a bullet list directly from the desk of the media cartels... and probably where she got banged the first time.
18:58 January 27, 2011 by Rick Methven
Must stop giving the missus a present when we have nookie

Could be spending some jail time
19:32 January 27, 2011 by Rishonim
Beatrice Ask should go and get laid and smoke some ganja. She is probably still pissed because her man left her for another man. Time to move on Beatrice and please focus on things worth looking into like dealing with those known 200 terrorist living in our country
19:39 January 27, 2011 by DAVID T
My ex wife took me to the cleaners - cost me a lot of money for crap sex - please send me to jail
19:44 January 27, 2011 by jack sprat
As long as there are sellers there will be buyers.

It's like punishing somebody for buying a spliff and leaving the drug dealer free to carry on business as normal.

Bloody ridiculous.

In any event it's the worlds oldest profession and will always carry on no matter what, so why not do the job properly and legalise it, supervise it and tax it ?
19:45 January 27, 2011 by natascia
What about the Italian Minister Silvio Berlusconi?!?! He went to several girls underage with pubblic money... Too bad he is the Italian First Minister... I doubt he could cover the same role anywhere else...
19:55 January 27, 2011 by pantheratigris
@ natascia

I just logged on The Local to write that when I noticed you had been faster. By Swedish standards he would have received a life sentence that's for sure! lol
20:22 January 27, 2011 by LonelyLove
Sweden is turning into Saudi Arabia.

One of the most sexually repressed countries in the world.
20:48 January 27, 2011 by procrustes
1. Never elect an angry politician.

2. The real crime is the condescending attitude that labels abused people victims.

3. Bad things happen and with care people can get past them and continue their lives, but once labeled "victim" that can never be changed. Once a victim always a victim, and the psychology of victimization is horrifically damaging.

4. The last thing an abused person should be told is that they are a victim. They have been the subject of a crime, but their person, their value to society, their identity has not changed. They are no different that they were before the crime. The injury can heal and they can continue. But if labeled "victim" they are changed. Their identity changes from normal person to victimized person. Labeling the subject of a crime as a victim compounds the assault.

4. Ms. Ask may be a nice person, but on this issue she is completely irrational. I wonder why. I wonder if she sees herself as a victim of some long ago outrage. That could explain a lot and validate my point about the irreversible damage of victim psychology.

5. Ms Ask is a plague on Swedish society. Many of her ideas are medieval having no place in a modern progressive society.
20:48 January 27, 2011 by Swedesmith

I'll give your 500 crowns to do the job.
21:05 January 27, 2011 by zircon
A politician with crocodile tears.
21:45 January 27, 2011 by Just_Kidding
The number of single men in age range of 29-45 is almost twice of single woman in that age range (due to immigration of asylum seekers). Does she have a solution to this problem too?
21:51 January 27, 2011 by know
It is effective if the perpetrator is liable to pay 50% of their salary.
22:07 January 27, 2011 by planet.sweden
One year in jail for sex, it really is absurd, and takes the penalty for buying sex close to what Sweden hands out to serious violent criminals.

It shows that the middle aged Swedish women who are so perplexed by this issue (for reasons only Freud can really explain) and who pass these laws, really have lost all sense of proportion.
22:17 January 27, 2011 by Rishonim
@Swedesmith, you will have to do better than that. If you throw in a cheap bottle of rye I may consider it ;-). LOL
23:09 January 27, 2011 by jack sprat
Sweden is way back in the stone-age.

Close on 50% of guys use prossies in Spain.

It is generally looked on as fairly normal, even by a lot of their wives, as it often helps keep marriages on the rails and families together.
23:25 January 27, 2011 by Kaethar
@jack sprat: And that's the whole point of the law. To cut off demand. Because whenever there is a demand there will be a supply. Making selling sex illegal won't solve a thing since prostitution will just be pushed further underground. So they make only buying sex illegal. Still protecting the prostitutes (who are in Sweden often victims of sex trafficking) whilst going after the johns. The law is meant to scare men (and women) off from paying for sex.
23:34 January 27, 2011 by Javlaengelsman
Sweden, land of the most Sexualy repressed populas in the EU... No wonder the suicide rate is also one of the highest with such backward attitudes towards the most important & ONLY truely meaningful act of humanity. The act that subconsiously is the motivation for everything we do & say, SEX is the motivation for everything we do from the age of puberty & for Males until the grave. The driving life force. All women trade or sell sex, ALL men compete to offer what the need to give to get Sex, whether it be finaciatial segurity, support of offspring (even when he does not live with them) or providing protection or whatever. ALL women are Whores & ALL men are Punters, this is our NATURAL state & will forever be so.
23:35 January 27, 2011 by zooeden
I got a better one, kill those who buy sex!!! And kill those who smoke pot!!! and kill all immigrants!!! And leave the rest alone, how does that sound!!!
23:39 January 27, 2011 by bravedave
@kaethar I had just wriiten a response only to see you had written everything I did. Couldnt agree more, why cant the idiots for polliticians see this!?
00:02 January 28, 2011 by Nilspet

You are describing the reality pretty well :) I would not be able to come up with the those words you used and I am sure many understand exactly what you said :)
00:02 January 28, 2011 by enkelt
why would one want to buy sex here! all he has to do is to go the bar and get drank beyond belief i am sure he would have 1 or 2 company with him that night
00:47 January 28, 2011 by jack sprat
@Kaether, What rubbish. The trade has continued almost since time began and the pathetic Swedish police and Courts would be the least able of anyone to stop it, especially as the prossies are apparently allowed free rein to carry on business as normal.

As long as they are selling then others will be buying.

If it is not legalised,supervised and taxed then at the very least the law should be equal for both sexes.

As I said it's like arresting a harmless punter for picking up the odd spliff, whilst turning the evil drug dealers free to continue plying their trade.

The law is a total R-sole and would never work in a million years.
01:44 January 28, 2011 by redfish
With every other industry thats regulated you punish the seller. Food, toys, industrial products, etc.. only in prostitution does it seem that people want to punish the buyer.. and only because there are women involved and it becomes an issue for feminists.
01:59 January 28, 2011 by Eagle63
Ok guys; just get yourselves a € 120 roundtrip airfare to Amsterdam; plenty 'to do' there. Or better yet; at Schiphol hop on the train to The Hague Hollands Spoor station (30 min), walk 6 min to the Geleenstraat and enjoy yourself while 'windowshopping'....

Nothing the Swedish Government can do about THAT !!!
03:37 January 28, 2011 by technoviking
Seriously? They don't have more important things to deal with than to crack down on sex between consenting (though dirtbag) adults?

This is the most uptight "liberal" society in the world.
08:52 January 28, 2011 by tech1
Roots are the main base for any thing. First control the sex workers and their brokers, mediators. Give them a new life and jobs, then there wont come a kind of issues. There are lot of innocent women are forcedly involved in prostitution.lots of reasons in individual cases. Now-a-days lot of sex transplantation operations are going on just to take part in this business, are they doing for their own comfort ? Just for money money money.... Provide them a proper path where they can walk into bright future, If buying sex is an offence why not selling? why don't you punish them who making this business?
09:19 January 28, 2011 by Da Goat
they need to repeal this stupid law and make it illegal to sell sex in any and all forms! IF IT IS NOT FREE IT IS NOT ON!

all forms of paid for sex should be illegal, stop the exploitation of not only men but everyone! sex is way to expensive it costs peoples lives.

It is not only professionals that sell sex (they are just the honest ones) most women do this despicable deed.

on the other hand welcome this law if you are unemployed or a struggling immigrant it is pretty cheap and pleasurable way to earn a free years upkeep courtesy of his majesties pleasure house (probably get it free in jail as a right) maybe they pay you if you are lucky.
10:38 January 28, 2011 by unforgiven
Towards Islamic republic of Sweden :D
12:18 January 28, 2011 by johnny1939
What happened to free love that Sweden was the infamous for in the 50 & 60's?? All this is such nonsense. I say register sex workers and make them use credit cards and tax them like the rest of us. Unregistered workers should get very high penalties and be registered. What a revenue possibility. It has worked in other countries why not here?
14:15 January 28, 2011 by Streja
johnny, yes FREE. You said it yourself.

Swedes believe it should be free and because you want to, not because someone can't be arsed to make a woman tick.

That's why so many men are bad at it. They have practiced on prostitutes who fake it all the time.
14:18 January 28, 2011 by Bölö
short time hiring sex should not be crime. Long time hiring sex (marriage) should be the crime
14:46 January 28, 2011 by Hoath
Maybe tackling illegal immigration and tackling the underlying reason why women have to turn to prostitution to make a living would be a more productive use of their time.
15:58 January 28, 2011 by Swedesmith
@ Streja

As I always explain to my wife, "Practice makes perfect."
16:53 January 28, 2011 by Zala Russe
Is this part of some perverse Islamification agenda? and if Ms Ask or her friends use the services of a gigolo are they subject to the same law?
17:26 January 28, 2011 by archer08
@ Streja

So according to this man-hating feminazi law, since being a prostitute is not illegal, then if she has a boyfriend and has so called "free" sex with him, is he going to be charged as being a "pimp" ? or if he buys her some dinner or a drink, he'll be charged as a " buyer"? ( the law says that food and alcohol constitutes as " payment"). I don't understand how Swedish men bacame so brainwashed as to let feminazism to take over their country like this.
22:49 January 28, 2011 by locaxy
Silly laws are silly! What business is it of the state if two adults engage in mutually beneficial coitus?

Sex is not something sacred, you prudes! And no, this has absolutely nothing to do with Islam (some commentators here are just crazy!). It's remnants of puritanical Christianity mixed with insane feminism and social-engineering.
15:55 January 29, 2011 by Leo Danial
Hi guys ..

Long Time No See ... I was busy studying for the exams.

Maybe Holland, Germany, France, Italy & other European countries are 3rd world or uncivilized countries ... is this logical to consider paying for sex as rape & other sex crimes? why this (obsession) with buying sex?

I have only a political explanation ... Most of the people who pay for sex are usually men ... Men who can't adjust or adapt easily to get sex through normal relations .. Swedish men over forty or forigners that have communication problems ... So, all these regulations & punishments are targeted towards Men, mostly Forigners, ... this is a way to suppress Men-Power.

This is a strong part of the Swedish Feminist Chauvinism (SFC)'s invisible ideology that controls & dominates this country with the strong cooperation from the Semi-Men in the political- cultural-social system.

I am not against the feminists or the homos or the moslems or any body ...but I am against this overrated sex crime which represents the greatest stupidity in this country, which makes Sweden (unique) among other countries.

Generally speaking .. there is no such thing like (free sex or gratis sex) ... all the time Men should pay (something) big or small ... at least gifts or invitations or other things ... sometimes (legal) sex costs even more than casual sex ... what about drunk women in pubs & discos sleeping with any one or total stranger for drinks or smoke or a taxi fare.

I think it is better to control or supervise such (SEX) activities like other countries in Europe do ... or keep it low profile & consider such activities as private agreements ... the authorities can even - if they wish - charge taxes for any sex sold or bought to help the GDP.

Of course I am totally against sex-traffic or white slavery or organized unlegal prostitution ... it is time to have a new look to the subject, see how the others are behaving in such cases, & take the subject out of the ideoligical concepts of the Swedish Feminist Chauvinism (SFC).

I know that many males & females will hate me for mentioning SFC .. because they can't sense or realize it ... but it is there guys ... it should be addressed ... Man & Woman should integrate each other not fight each other.

I wish that the Local adm. can publish my long comment as an article so that it can lead to greater discussin & controversy about the SFC.

Greetings guys ... my heart & brain is in Egypt!
22:11 January 29, 2011 by laura ka baal

Its too late now you!ll have to breathe with immigrants they are everywhere. This you!ll hould have thought long time before.
04:03 January 30, 2011 by dan_sparrow
i think if they wanna make a stop, they should arrest both client and prostitute, its pointless to arrest the client only, because theres more clients waiting for service.

@Sweetdishgurl u know what, theres more swedish girls working in this than foreigns, many also abroad in spain, UK, holland...

this fits perfect with the swedish society, everything half done!
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