“The effect is that we broaden the market for EU prostitutes,” Ingemo Melin-Olsson of the border police in Stockholm told Sveriges Radio (SR).
While selling sex isn’t illegal in Sweden, the purchase of sex is. In addition, prostitutes are often tied to pimping operations.
As a result, the police have been actively deporting prostitutes from Sweden, regardless of their citizenship, arguing that they represent a threat to the basic interests of society.
Police used similar grounds when they deported street beggars with EU citizenship last summer, but those deportations drew criticism from the Parliamentary Ombudsman (Justitieombudsmannen – JO).
While police and the Migration Court in Gothenburg are in agreement that prostitution isn’t a legitimate way to support oneself, the court has found that the EU directive on the free movement of EU citizens carries more weight.
According to the directive, EU citizens have the right to visit other EU countries for up to three months without any restrictions other than producing identification to confirm their EU citizenship.
“For our work, this means that we don’t deport EU citizen prostitutes. On the other hand, we will deport prostitutes from third countries, that is to say, outside the EU-area,” said Melin-Olsson.
She explained that, as of now, there is no legal precedent for how the cases of EU-citizen prostitutes should be handled.
However, police are hopeful that a case involving the deportation of a prostitute who is an EU-citizen currently under review by the ombudsman may eventually provide them with some more solid guidance.
“No one really agrees on this, and that makes it easy to get confused,” police inspector Marianne Paulsson told SR.
According to Paulsson, a ruling by the ombudsman is the closest thing to a legal precedent they can get, short of a change in the law.
“But I think they ought to consider that too. I don’t think this provides legal certainty,” she said.