Police seized 28 people during raids against sex buyers in Stockholm in the past week, writes Expressen.
The crackdown included a major raid of an apartment at Grevgatan in the upmarket Stockholm district Östermalm on Thursday, where police arrests included former boxer, actor and TV host Paolo Roberto.
Criminal suspects are usually not named in Swedish newspapers until there has been a conviction, and Swedish media initially reported only that a “TV star” had been arrested for buying sex. However, Roberto then outed himself and confessed to having bought sex in an interview with broadcaster TV4.
“You're buying another woman's body, probably someone who has been forced to come there. She's not there because it's so nice,” he told TV4, adding he regretted his actions, which he said were self-destructive.
Aftonbladet reported that he was suspected of paying 1,500 kronor for sex with a woman from one of Europe's poorest countries, and several of his commercial partners immediately halted all collaborations with him.
Roberto is a well-known face in Swedish newspapers and television, who has hosted several TV shows, and is probably most known to an international audience for starring in one of the Millennium movies.
But he was not the only one arrested.
Paolo Roberto. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT
Police said they had arrested 28 people during a series of stings in the past week. Almost all confessed on the spot, and police officer Simon Häggström told SVT the arrests were likely just a “needle in a haystack”.
“The youngest was 21 years old, the oldest one who was caught was 68, from all classes in society, from all types of backgrounds,” Anders Olofsson, who led the police raids, told Expressen.
Last year around 50 men in Stockholm county were convicted of buying or attempting to buy sexual services.
Sweden became the first country in the world to criminalise buying sex, rather than selling sex, in 1999. Anyone found guilty of buying sex can be fined or sent to jail for up to a year.