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Prostitution is not hidden from police, Haggstrom insists, pointing out that in order to get buyers, sellers have to advertise. A 2015 report by the national coordinator against prostitution and trafficking found that ads for escort services had increased to 6,965 that year from 304 in 2007.
The print and online ads are how police find sex buyers. They track the ads daily, placing a priority on those with the youngest-looking women.
Acting as buyers, they set up a “date” and find out the location. Once there, they cancel the arrangement and then stake out the site, arresting the men as they leave.
These days, prostitutes frequently meet clients in apartments that owners have put up for vacation rentals or are listed on Airbnb.
There are weaknesses in the system.
The 2015 review found that one of the unintended consequences of the policy is increased support for criminalizing prostitutes, currently at 48 per cent of all Swedes; 59 per cent of women and 38 per cent of men.
The Swedish Association for Sexuality Education has suggested that the law has increased both stigma and discrimination, putting prostitutes in a more precarious position. However, the group has opposed legalization and instead has been pressing for changes to address those unintended consequences.
Haggstrom admits that another consequence is that Swedish men now are more likely to become sex tourists. Unlike Canada, Sweden does not have an extraterritorial law that allows it to prosecute Swedish offenders for sex crimes committed abroad. However, he says it’s under discussion.
The counselling program for sex buyers — even repeat offenders — is voluntary, not mandatory. Again, Haggstrom says the government is considering changing that.
Also, only Swedish citizens are eligible for government-funded programs aimed at helping them exit the sex trade. Foreigners are referred for help to non-governmental agencies.
So what’s happening in Vancouver? It’s definitely not like Sweden. But that’s for another day.
"Experts": Serbia Should Follow Bulgaria Prostitution, Sex Tourism Model.
Image by lifestyle.ibox.bg.
Serbian “experts” believe that Serbia should follow Bulgaria’s model of handling the prostitution and sex tourism industries in order to raise state revenue.
According to publications in the Serbian media quoted by the BGNES news agency, the cited “experts” estimated that the country’s state budget could raise additional revenue of over EUR 500 M from changes in its approach to prostitution.
They believe that the additional benefits of finding a way to legalize the prostitution would also boost the local economy and turn Serbia into a country with “regulated sex tourism”.The prostitutes in Serbia are believed to be about 40 000.
The Chair of the Association of Night Clubs, Slavoljup Veljkovic, is quoted as saying that the prostitution industry in Serbia commanded enormous sums of money, pointing out that one prostitute could “serve” about ten men per night, and that the prostitutes did not have vacations and days off.
Veljkovic is quoted as calling for adopting the Bulgarian experience where “each year officially the Bulgarian prostitutes makes at least EUR 1,8 B, which is 7,2% of the country’s GDP”. According to his calculations, the Serbian prostitutes were no worse, and could make at least EUR 1,5 B per year.
Economist Goran Nikolic is quoted as saying that a large amount of money would be raised by the state if prostitution was legalized, pointing out that this sort of industry existed anyway.
He believes that foreigners associated Serbia with pretty women in general, and that they would feel better if they could be with Serbian prostitutes in a legal way, and to know that they were protected by the law. This sort of regulated sex tourism, in his words, is also going to bring down the prices because there would be no intermediaries for the service.
Contrary to what the Serbian experts imply, Bulgaria has no legal texts legalizing the prostitution in any way. The publication most likely refers to the existence of escort – or “companion” – services in Bulgaria, many of which are reported to serve as a cover for prostitution services. Those clubs or firms are registered as commercial entertainment companies and they indeed pay the respective corporate taxes.
However, their legal documents have no mention of “prostitution” as “subject of activity” precisely because the prostitution is illegal, according to Bulgarian legislation.
Is Sex Work an Expression of Women�s Choice and Agency?
Should sex work �be understood as legitimate work, and an expression of women�s choice and agency’ (Jeffreys 2009: 316)?
Jeffreys (2009) explicitly illustrates why sex work cannot be understood as legitimate work or as an expression of women�s �choice and agency�. She makes her argument with radical feminist, abolitionist, and essentialist discourse, placing women�s bodies at the centre of her analysis (Jeffreys, 2009: 317). This essay shall systematically discuss the title question looking at the complexities of both liberal and radical feminist arguments. Though acknowledging that sex work takes many forms, this essay will focus on prostitution. Firstly, it will consider whether one can identify prostitution as �legitimate work�, followed by discussing whether or not prostitution as a profession offers women �choice� and �agency� or instead, embodies coercion, a last resort and �disembodied agency� (Miriam, 2005). By examining case studies which document the experiences of prostitutes in Serbia (Djordjevic, 2008), Victoria (Sullivan, 2005) and Zambia (Agha and Nchima, 2004) and through scrutinising both �abolitionist� and �sex work� arguments, I reach the conclusion and firmly argue that sex work cannot, and should not be understood as �legitimate work�. I argue this on the following basis: first, sex work is inherently harmful to prostitutes; second, prostitution inexorably embodies patriarchy and male subordination over women; and finally, in the majority of cases, prostitution is a very limited �choice�. Nonetheless, I am sensitive to Djordjevic and Ditmore�s (2008) liberal arguments, which illustrates some of the harms that arise when prostitution is strictly illegal. They argue it is essential to work with prostituted individuals to improve regulation and the conditions women, transsexuals and men, currently work in. I conclude by proposing the Swedish method as the pre-eminent method to address prostitution – for although abolitionist, it is sensitive to the complexities of the abolitionist paradigm.