Push to ban Swedes buying sex abroad

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Push to ban Swedes buying sex abroad
A prostitute in Stockholm, Sweden. Photo: TT

Sweden's new coalition government is trying to make it an offence for Swedes to use prostitutes when they are on holiday or working in other countries.


In Sweden it is legal to work as a prostitute, but it is illegal for customers to pay for sex. Police say the number of sex workers has dropped by two-thirds since the strategy was introduced fifteen years ago. 
The Social Democrat-Green party coalition wants to extend the policy to Swedes who buy sex abroad, with a vote in parliament expected on Tuesday.
But their plans look set to be blocked by the centre-right parties that made up the former governing Alliance in Sweden and the nationalist Sweden Democrats.
"For the Swedish police to scout abroad for this type of crime is not using their resources in the best way," Johan Pehrson, Liberal Party Justice spokesperson told Swedish television network SVT.
"It is more important to combat serious sex crimes that exist in Sweden, particularly the crime of targeting children."
Richard Jomshof, speaking for the Sweden Democrats added:
"We say no. Even if we are against buying sex in Sweden, it is not the same as interfering in other countries' legislation."
Many opponents to the plan argue that it is wrong to punish someone for doing something that is legal in one nation, but not in another. 
Some argue that making it illegal for Swedes to pay for sex in places where prostitution is still legal, could lead to other countries starting to punish their citizens for activities that are allowed in Sweden but banned elsewhere.
"It would be terrible if people got punished because they had a homosexual relationship in Sweden, or if they were a woman seen to be 'improperly' dressed or because they had had an abortion in Sweden," Moderate party Justice spokesperson Beatrice Ask told SVT.


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