Essay 8: The Swedish Model – Abolitionist Nirvana? Part 3

The Swedish Model is commended by abolitionists because “it works.” How does it work and does it work well? Here I offer some further observations and try crudely to delineate costs and benefits.

One aim of the sex purchase ban was to reduce demand and, consequently, reduce prostitution. Has it done so? Although defenders of ban say it has, the best that the 2010 Skarhed Report could offer was a not-very-credible “no increase since 1999.” Other official sources resort to circumlocutions (“The extent of prostitution . . . in Sweden is not negligible”) or deferral (information is hard to get and better studies are needed).[1]

Nor does it seem that the ban has had much effect on sex trafficking. Although official sources repeatedly pronounce the sex purchase ban to be a major deterrent to traffickers, it is hard to see how the ban itself, independently of the procuring, pimping, and trafficking laws, could change the incentives for anyone bringing prostitutes into Sweden.[2] In the early 2000s, officials claimed that the ban made customers afraid of being caught and extra cautious. This caution, in turn, imposed additional costs on organized prostitution rings.[3] However, this claim dropped out of later reports and is no longer made.

After 2004, yearly police progress reports on trafficking stopped providing estimates of the number of women trafficked; but there is little indication that the tide in Sweden has receded to any degree.[4] Indeed, the Skarhed Report concedes that trafficking has increased since the sex purchase ban took effect.[5] Though police wiretaps allegedly “overhear” traffickers grumbling about the “bad” Swedish market, police practices point in a different direction. The police keep requesting more funds, creating more action plans, and deploying more initiatives to interdict organized prostitution. Sweden may experience less trafficking than other countries, but that has always been the case.


Gunilla Eckberg, one of Sweden’s leading proponents of the sex purchase ban, has some difficulty getting its purposes straight. Its primary purpose, she writes, is to prevent the purchase of sex. To the retort that the ban therefore must be ineffective because so few sex buyers get arrested, she responds by claiming that the main purpose of the law is normative. It is supposed to implant in Swedish consciousness that buying women is impermissible. Elsewhere, however, she announces that the law’s ultimate goal is to protect prostitutes.[6]

Take the last goal first. Swedish policy on balance helps prostitutes only if they elect to leave prostitution; otherwise it harasses and further stigmatizes them. As to the first goal, as we’ve already seen, Swedish policy hasn’t actually rolled back the market in sexual services. What, then, about the second goal, norm setting? Has the sex purchase ban worked well in this regard?

That it has worked well constitutes a major theme in all abolitionist writings about the Swedish Model. Ekberg herself writes:

We can also see important normative changes as a result of the law — something that was another aim of this legislation. Get people to start thinking, “In Sweden, no one is going to be for sale and no one can purchase another person.” Polls have been carried out regularly about the public support of the law which consistently has been between 70 and 79%. People support the law so that means the public educational part of it is working.[7]

Max Waltman, another Swedish proponent of the sex purchase ban, declares that

the passing of the law, in and of itself, seems to have changed public sentiment. In 1996, only forty-five percent of women and twenty percent of men in Sweden were in favor of criminalizing male sex purchasers. In 1999, eighty-one percent of women and seventy percent of men were in favor of criminalizing the purchase of sex; in 2002, eighty-three percent of women and sixty-nine percent of men were in favor; and, in 2008, seventy-nine percent of women and sixty percent of men favored the law.[8]

The Skarhed Report painted an equally rosy picture (Ekberg, Waltman, and Skarhed, of course, were drawing from the same surveys):

Of those who responded to the 1996 survey, 67 percent felt that buying sex should not be considered a criminal act. However, in the 1999 survey 76 percent said that it was right to ban the purchase of sexual services. Support for the criminalization has been equally strong in the two latest surveys: 76 percent in 2002 and 71 percent in 2008 . . . . [I]t is reasonable to assume that an actual change in attitudes has occurred. This means that a change has occurred in attitudes toward purchasing sexual services, which coincides with its criminalization. This change in attitude must be interpreted in such a way that the ban itself has had a normative effect.[9]

Here we trip across a small dissimulation ubiquitous in abolitionist literature. From the numbers just presented we are supposed to come to the following conclusion:

In 1996, most Swedes opposed making it a crime to use a prostitute; but in 1998 the Swedish legislature nevertheless criminalized the buying of sex, adopting and expressing in public law a feminist understanding of prostitution as male violence and of prostitutes as victims. And look what happened! Swedish public opinion swung overwhelmingly and unwaveringly behind this understanding.

However, the abolitionists omit a small piece of information that mars this feminist fairy tale. In all the post-1999 surveys a majority of Swedes favor criminalizing the selling of sex, too. Indeed, two-thirds of Swedish women want prostitutes fined or jailed.[10] Swedish women do not view prostitutes as victims but as victimizers, as threats to their sons and husbands. The shift in opinion to a strong majority favoring criminalizing all facets of prostitution suggests the sex purchase ban has implanted a norm, to be sure, but as Charlotta Holmstrom points out in her recent survey of Swedish policy, it may not be a norm feminists should take comfort in.[11]


In one respect Sweden’s sex purchase ban has been an unqualified success. One motive for enacting it was to position Sweden in the vanguard of world feminist egalitarianism. Not only did Sweden pass the sex purchase act in 1998; not only did it augment police funding to enforce the new ban; it also began funding propaganda efforts through the Swedish Institute, through its embassies abroad, and through other outreach sources.[12] From the very outset, Sweden self-consciously sought to promote its policies everywhere.

It can count many successes at this enterprise. Norway and Iceland enacted sex purchase bans in the late 1990s. The French National Assembly enacted a sex purchase ban in 2016 (see Essay 10). Northern Ireland enacted a sex purchase ban in 2014, and the Republic of Ireland in early 2017. In 2014 Canada yoked a sex purchase ban to legislation permitting prostitutes limited solicitation rights, limited rights to work in brothels, and limited rights to employ minders and helpers (“pimps”). It will be interesting to see how this utterly mongrel law works out in practice. In theory it is incoherent, since the sex purchase ban is based on the idea that prostitutes are victims, without agency, while the other parts of the legislation give scope and effect to prostitutes’ agency.

In early 2006, Sweden sought to cement its world position by raising alarms about the upcoming (soccer) World Cup, being held in Germany, a country with an unacceptably lax approach to prostitution by Sweden’s standards.

According to Gregg Bucken-Knapp et al. (whose account I follow here),

it was frequently alleged in the media that upward of 40,000 Eastern European “sex slaves” were being prepared for importation to Germany.

Swedish members of the European Parliament floated a motion to condemn prostitution at the World Cup, only to be disappointed by the eventual official condemnation of “forced prostitution,” a notion Sweden rejects because it implies there’s some other kind. A Swedish t-shirt emblazoned with “Football – Yes! Prostitution – No!” got widely circulated. Two Swedish officials pushed the idea of a boycott: Sweden would refuse to send its football team to a nation that countenanced sexual slavery. This proposal fell flat, but Sweden continued its publicity campaign throughout the summer. Then:

[i]nterestingly, in the autumn of 2006, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the International Organization of Migration (IOM) produced a postmortem report showing that trafficking to Germany had not increased during the World Cup. The report was particularly skeptical of the way that journalists accepted the number of 40,000 sex slaves without substantiation and concluded that the debate over the issue had very little impact on suppressing incidents of trafficking.[13]

This small set-back aside, Sweden can chalk up impressive evangelism results.

“End demand” has its vociferous and influential followers everywhere, including in the United States. Both Equality Now and CATW, discussed in earlier essays, are “end demand” proponents. And the message is getting through. Many police departments now engage in “reverse stings,” arresting men who solicit an undercover policewoman strolling the streets or who show up at a motel in response to a planted escort ad.[14]

“Rescue” is catching on with police departments, too. Consider Project ROSE in Phoenix:

In five two-day stings, more than 100 police officers targeted alleged sex workers on the street and online. They brought them in handcuffs to the Bethany Bible Church. There, the sex workers were forced to meet with prosecutors, detectives, and representatives of Project ROSE, who offered a diversion program to those who qualified. Those who did not may face months or years in jail. In the Bethany Bible Church, those arrested were not allowed to speak to lawyers. Despite the handcuffs, they were not officially “arrested” at all. . . . at [Project] ROSE’s heart is DIGNITY Diversion, 36 hours of classroom time run by Catholic Charities.[15]

Only if the women brought to Bethany Church successfully complete the program are they free from prosecution.

Arresting prostitutes in mass sweeps and taking them in handcuffs to a church where, without judicial safeguards and legal representation, they are offered a choice between facing criminal charges or entering a diversion program run by a religious organization – all of this, according to one police spokesman, is a way to help prostitutes – a way to address “their victimization”, “their needs,” and “their inherent dignity.”[16] The prostitutes understandably might be confused about who is victimizing whom here. How their dignity is being served by handcuffs might escape them, too. But according to an Arizona State University professor allied with the program, prostitution “messes up the minds” of prostitutes; they no longer know “what a relationship looks like,” no longer have an appropriate appreciation of “intimacy.” Project ROSE will set them on a course to remedy that.[17]

Police everywhere are in the “rescue” business. Consider this conventional sting in Maryland.

A scantily-clad young woman sits on the edge of her bed shrouded in a sheet. She is shaking and crying and explaining why she turned to a life of prostitution in cheap hotels up and down the East coast . . . . Moments ago her latest date announced he is a police officer. She has been caught in a sting. Her day is ruined, but the police hope her life can be saved . . . . Sgt. Coleman of the Prince George’s County Vice Squad says his goal is to help, not hurt, the women he arrests. He says they are victims themselves.[18]

The prostitutes-are-victims theme plays well all over. Arresting people to save their lives: it’s a noble calling. But enough. Back to Sweden.


A great many different goals get imputed to Sweden’s sex purchase ban. Let’s address several in turn.

1. Does the ban help prostitutes? I think the answer here is indisputable. It does not. The ban does not put prostitutes in a more advantageous position vis-à-vis their customers, vis-à-vis the police, or vis-à-vis the Swedish welfare system. To the extent that it ratifies their continued stigmatization, it harms them.

2. Does the ban help prostitutes exit? There’s no reason to think it does. The Swedish exit mechanisms and agencies were already in place long before the ban and they have not been significantly augmented or strengthened since. The Prostitution Agencies serve roughly the same number of prostitute-leavers each year, most of whom got out on their own, and very few of whom are foreign-born.

3. Does the sex purchase ban underwrite an important norm? The promulgation of the ban does seem to have affected Swedish attitudes, but the norm actually propagated reflects a hostility to prostitution and prostitutes in general. The widespread willingness by Swedes – especially Swedish women – to favor criminal penalties for selling sex counts against any facile contention that Swedes have embraced a feminist understanding of prostitution.

4. Does the sex purchase ban inhibit prostitution and trafficking? Possibly. It adds a criminal penalty where there was none, so this may have some deterrent effect. The penalty is modest and seldom inflicted so the ban isn’t so likely to stop customers from buying sex as to make them buy more cautiously. What cannot plausibly be claimed, I believe, is that the sex purchase ban has resulted in less prostitution or less trafficking in Sweden. Prostitution has grown and trafficking hasn’t diminished. The ban may have created slower growth than would have occurred otherwise, but making the case for this claim will take more than simplistic comparisons with Denmark and other countries. It is also possible that police could make many more arrests if they had more resources. The claim that arrests made are proportionate to resources invested shows up in every official report.[19] More arrests might yield more deterrence. However, the efficacy of the sex purchase ban can’t be measured against some ideal of unlimited enforcement. Last year there were 95,000 drug offenses reported in Sweden. Since Sweden has a “zero tolerance” policy against drugs, these reports have to be investigated. Last year 6,700 rapes were reported. Surely these require more attention than police stakeouts of streetwalkers. Last year 3,800 instances of child abuse came to police attention. One would think investigating these has high priority. Last year police had notice of 17,000 cases involving women battered by their boyfriends or husbands. Is it more or less important to attend to these than to catch a man boffing an escort?[20]

5. Does the sex purchase ban witness to the world Sweden’s “end demand” feminist credentials and influence other people and nations? Here the answer is an indisputable yes.

6. Has the sex purchase ban been cost-free? The Skarhed Report doesn’t count it as a cost that Swedish policy further stigmatizes prostitutes. I do, and I think any feminist ought to as well. Finn MacKay, an English feminist activist, declares that “[f]eminists do not support campaigns that stigmatise or attempt to shame women in prostitution.”[21] They certainly oughtn’t but they do. Sweden explicitly does. Abolitionists do: they insistently valorize the voices of “survivors” and disdain the voices of active prostitutes. This is clear to any reader of the literature. Whether it is Stockholm, Sweden or Phoenix, Arizona, women who refuse not to be prostitutes are disrespected, discriminated against, harassed, shamed, and punished. An additional cost to be reckoned with: the “profiling” of women in Sweden who might be excluded from hotels or restaurants because they “look like” prostitutes, or prevented from entry into Sweden because they are “suspected” of coming there to sell sex. Yet another cost: the eclipsing of the social services approach to prostitution by a crime enforcement approach.

7. Can the Swedish Model be transplanted to other places? We will see what happens in Canada, France, and Ireland. However, Sweden is a society that tolerates a level of state paternalism that would be unacceptable in many other countries. It can decide what a good life for people consists in and intrude to compel adherence. For example, women under 20 years of age can be committed to custodial institutions if they prostitute or if they lead otherwise disorderly lives; adult drug users likewise can be incarcerated simply for being drug users.[22] Sweden can decide how people ought to have sex and put pressure on those who don’t go along. It can decide how people should raise their children and make it tough for those who don’t conform.[23] And so on.


Michelle Madden Dempsey writes:

Even if criminalization has the desired deterrent effect on potential buyers (thereby reducing the overall amount of trafficking, abusive pimping, and infliction of harm through prostitute-use), it is unlikely that complete abolition will ever be achieved. Thus, even while the overall amount of harm to prostituted people is reduced, those who are unable to exit may be subjected to even greater harm. Of course, the risk of increased harm to a relatively smaller number of people does not in itself defeat the feminist abolitionists’ argument; it does, however, starkly illustrate the cost of the proposed criminal law reforms. While these costs must be kept in mind, it is crucial to recall that the goal of criminalization is not simply a short-term readjustment of the costs and benefits of prostitution. Rather, the goal of the feminist-abolitionist project is a long-term transformation to a post-patriarchal society: one in which prostitution likely would not exist at all, and if it did, would represent one of a range of valuable options available to all people.[24]

If your guiding star is “a long-term transformation to a post-patriarchal society,” this makes assessing means to that end very difficult. The connections between any policy now and the payoff in the long-run are weak and opaque. Moreover, if a post-patriarchal society is a tremendously great good and if bringing it about is of over-riding importance, what short-term sacrifices and harms wouldn’t it justify? Why wouldn’t it warrant criminalizing selling sex? After all, the proximate aim is to end prostitution. Strong penalties against both buyers and sellers (say, a year in prison for a first offense) would motivate a lot of buyers and a lot of sellers to quit, wouldn’t it? In the Swedish parliamentary debates leading up to the sex purchase ban, the Prostitution Inquiry “proposed a ban on all sex trade because this would fill a normative function and make it clear that prostitution is not socially acceptable.” Making it criminal to sell would not only get a lot of women out of the life; “above all, [it would] be an effective means to prevent women from engaging in prostitution” in the first place. You might respond, as did the Swedish Parliament, that prostitutes are already “victims” and it would be “unreasonable,” i. e., unfair, to victimize them further.[25] However, if getting to a post-patriarchal society is an over-riding goal, then you’ve already put concerns about fairness aside, haven’t you? It’s the greater good that counts. On the other hand, if getting to the ultimate goal must be constrained by considerations like fairness and rights, then the connection between any present policy like the sex purchase ban and the remote goal of post-patriarchy is made even more tenuous. The close-up, right-now costs of the policy take on greater salience.

Finally, to complicate matters further, present policies may “promote” and “impede” the ultimate goal simultaneously. If the Swedish sex purchase ban reduces prostitution and trafficking a bit and thereby inches Sweden toward post-patriarchal status, it does so by reinforcing one of the centerpieces of patriarchy – police power to control the bodies of women – and arguably inches Sweden back from its step forward.[26]

As May-len Skilbrei and Charlotta Holmstrom write:

The aim of abolishing prostitution does not automatically lead to a choice of criminalisation, even though many argue for the criminalisation of clients on grounds of an abolitionist goal . . . . [w]hen the end-goal is to abolish prostitution, states can choose to work towards that goal by either forcing clients and/or sellers to exit prostitution through the use of a criminal justice approach or by enticing one or both parties to exit prostitution through the application of health and social services.[27]

Or states can choose both. Criminalization can augment and support the application of health and social services. What happens, though, when crime control and border security come to dominate policy and practice — as they have in Sweden?


Short titles used in notes –

SKARHED REPORT: Förbud mot köp av sexuell tjänst: En utvärdering 1999–2008 [Prohibiting the purchase of sexual services: Evaluation 1999-2008], Stockholm 2010, SOU 2010:49,

BRÅ 2010: Prostitution och människohandel för sexuella ändamål: En första uppföljning av regeringens handlingsplan [Prostitution and human trafficking for sexual purposes: A first follow-up of the Government’s Action Plan], Stockholm: Brottsförebyggande rådet, Rapport 2010:5,

STOCKHOLM COUNTY REPORT: Prostitutionen i Sverige 2014: En omfattningskartläggning [Prostitution in Sweden 2014: A survey of extent], Stockholm: Rapport 2015:10, p. 65,

LINKÖPING 1: Gisela Priebe och Carl Göran Svedin, Sälja och köpa sex i Sverige 2011: Förekomst, hälsa och attityder- Delrapport 1 ur Prostitution i Sverige – Kartläggning och utvärdering av prostitutionsgruppernas insatser samt erfarenheter och attityder i befolkningen, Malmo: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2012,

LINKÖPING 2: Ingrid Åkerman och Carl Göran Svedin, Kartläggning av insatser mot prostitutionen i Stockholm, Göteborg och Malmö-Delrapport 2 ur Prostitution i Sverige –Kartläggning och utvärdering av prostitutionsgruppernas insatser samt erfarenheter och attityder i befolkningen, Malmo: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2012,


[1] Brå 2010, p. 7; Stockholm County Report, p. 7 (“[Our] overall assessment is that the prohibition against the purchase of sexual services may have had a normative effect on potential buyers and thus affected the extent of prostitution in Sweden. More scientifically based studies are needed to clarify this effect”). Even some non-scientifically clear numbers would help. The Stockholm County Report offers this: “Prostitution on the street has more than halved since the estimate in 1995” (p. 9). But street prostitution was already falling in the 1990s. The relevant baseline for measuring the effect of the sex purchase ban would be 1998 or 1999. Thus, Linkoping 2 reports this picture: “The Sex Purchase Act has affected street prostitution to some degree. Since 1999, it is estimated that about 1/3 of prostitution on the street disappeared” (p. 18).

[2] Skarhed Report pp.37, 223, 227; Kännedom om prostitution 2007 [Knowledge of prostitution 2007], Socialstyrelsen [National Welfare Board], p. 45,; Statement by Kajsa Wahlberg, Swedish National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings, Conference on the ” Preventing and Combating Trafficking in human Beings and reducing prostitution and sexual exploitation,” Plzen, The Czech Republic, June 3 2009,; Speech by Kajsa Wahlberg, Swedish National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings at the Third Swedish-Dutch Conference on Gender Equality: Trafficking in Human Beings and Prostitution, organized by the Swedish Institute the Swedish National Police Board, the Swedish Embassy, and the Netherlands National Police Agency, den Haag, The Netherlands, December 6, 2010,

[3] See, e.g., Handel med kvinnor [Trafficking in Women], Lägesrapport 5 [Progress Report 5], December 31, 2002, p. 2,

[4] Trafficking in human beings for sexual purposes, Situation Report 7 for 2004, National Criminal Police, June 13, 2005, p. 2,
Informationsmaterial/01%20Polisen%2; see also reports for subsequent years. Melissa Farley, a leading abolitionist, claims (without attribution) that “[t]rafficking has plummeted in Sweden since the [sex purchase] law was passed.” See Melissa Farley, “Prostitution, Liberalism, and Slavery,” Logos: A Journal of Modern Society & Culture, 2013,

[5] Skarhed Report, p. 57.

[6] Gunilla Ekberg, “The Swedish Law That Prohibits the Purchase of Sexual Services Best Practices for Prevention of Prostitution and Trafficking in Human Beings,” Violence Against Women, Vol. 10 (October 2004), pp. 1195, 1209, 1210.

[7] “Abolishing Prostitution: The Swedish Solution: An Interview with Gunilla Ekberg” by the Rain and Thunder Collective, Rain and Thunder: A Radical Feminist Journal of Discussion and Activism, Issue 41, Winter Solstice 2008,

[8] Max Waltman, “Prohibiting Sex Purchasing and Ending Trafficking: The Swedish Prostitution Law,” Michigan Journal of International Law, Vol. 33 (Fall 2011), p. 149.

[9] Skarhed Report, pp. 124, 125, 126. See also Åsa Yttergren, “Swedish Gender Equality for Trafficked Women? Radical Official Remedies and Ethnic Otherness,” feminists@law, Vol 2, No. 1 (2012),; Kalsa Claude, “Targeting the Sex Buyer: The Swedish Example – Stopping Prostitution and Trafficking: Where It All Begins,” The Swedish Institute, 2011, p. 7,

[10] Linköping 1, pp. 33, 91; Stockholm Report, p. 28.

[11] Charlotta Holmström, Förbud mot köp av sexuell tjänst i Sverige: en kunskapsöversikt om avsedda effekter och oavsedda konsekvenser [Prohibiting the purchase of sexual services in Sweden: A knowledge of the intended effects and unintended consequences], RSFU, February 2015, p. 19,

[12] Brå 2010, pp. 9-10, 60.

[13] Gregg Bucken-Knapp, Johan Karlsson Schaffer,and Karin Persson Strömbäck, “Security, Equality, and the Clash of Ideas: Sweden’s Evolving Anti-Trafficking Policy,” Human Rights Review, Vol. 13 (2012), pp. 179-180.

[14] See, for example, Joe Coscarelli, “NYPD Can’t Quite Crack Prostitution Problem,” New York Magazine, February 13, 2012, (“Using decoys armed with remote audio systems and aided by ‘arrest teams’ and undercover officers, the Police Department, over three days last month, made 195 arrests and seized 55 vehicles in what police officials called Operation Losing Proposition”); Vera Chinese, Rocco Parascandola, and Stephen Rex Brown, “Nassau County Nabs 104 Johns Who Tried To Pay Undercover Cops for Sex,” New York Daily News, June 3, 2014, (“The month-long sting, dubbed ‘Operation Flush the Johns’ caught men as young as 17 and as old as 79 in an attempt to shame the men who fuel the sex trade”); “Police: 4 ‘Johns’ Arrested in Linthicum Prostitution Sting; Undercover Detectives Posed as Internet Escorts,” May 20, 2013,; Howard County Police News Release: “Police Continue To Utilize Reverse Prostitution Operations; Second Operation of the Year Results in 18 arrests,” May 30, 2013,

[15] Molly Crabapple, “Project ROSE Is Arresting Sex Workers in Arizona to Save Their Souls,” Vice, February 26, 2014,

[16] “ASU, Phoenix Police Team Up to Help Victims of Prostitution,” ASU News, April 26, 2012,

[17] Crabapple, “Project ROSE,” op cit. (supra note 15).

[18] Brad Bell, “Prostitution Led by Growth of Area Gambling, Police Say,” WJLA TV, April 26, 2013,

[19] See Skarhed Report, pp.39, 113, 198, 215.

[20] See

[21] Finn Mackay, “Arguing Against the Industry of Prostitution – Beyond the Abolitionist Versus Sex-Worker Binary,” June 24, 2013,

[22] See, the website of the National Board of Institutional Care [Statens institutionsstyrelse, or SiS], describing its mission and legal basis (“The National Board of Institutional Care is an independent Swedish government agency that delivers individually tailored compulsory care for young people with psychosocial problems and for adults with substance abuse”); Ola Florin, “A Particular Kind of Violence: Swedish Social Policy Puzzles of a Multipurpose Criminal Law,” Sexual Research & Social Policy, Vol. 9 (2012), p. 274 (“Under the Care of Young Persons Act, prostituting and performing in sex clubs are classified as destructive youth behaviors and a possible ground for their apprehension”).

[23] For example, Sweden takes tremendous pride in its law against corporal punishment.

[24] Michelle Madden Dempsey, “Sex Trafficking and Criminalization: In Defense of Feminist Abolitionism,” University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Vol. 158 (May 2010), p. 1775.

[25] Regeringens proposition 1997/98:55-Kvinnofrid, § 16.1,

[26] One furious blogging feminist (Calabasa), objecting to an expressed doubt about the Nordic Model, responded to another blog commentator, “Controlling women’s bodies, both access to sex and reproductive capacities, is the raison d’etre of patriarchy.” Indeed! And look at the Swedish policies in practice. What do they do? Do they not control women’s bodies? What would you call police bursting in on naked women having sex? What would you call police or social workers intruding uninvited at a girl’s home if she’s advertised sexual services on the web? What would you call deportation of a woman for selling sex? What would you call involuntary custody of an 18 year-old girl for stripping? What would you call social service agencies that work hand in hand with the police? The response by Calabasa came in the comments section to Chris Hedges, “Amnesty International: Protecting the ‘Human Rights’ of Johns, Pimps and Human Traffickers,” Posted on Aug 16, 2015,
amnesty_international_protecting_the_human_rights_20150816. See also Carlin Meyer, “Decriminalizing Prostitution: Liberation or Dehumanization?” Cardozo Women’s Law Journal, Vol. 1 (1993-1994), p. 108 (“In my view, criminalization and regulation of prostitution, far more than prostitution itself, institutionalizes male sexual domination and social control of women”); and May-Len Skilbrei & Charlotta Holmstrom, Prostitution Policy in the Nordic Region: Ambiguous Sympathies (Farnham, Surrey, UK: Ashgate, 2013), p. 7 (“measures have changed, but the control of women is still there, now not only by the police, but also by a broad range of actors who take part in surveying and overseeing their self-governance”).

[27] Skilbrei & Holmstrom, Prostitution Policy in the Nordic Region, op. cit.(supra note 26), p. 12.