In Sweden the so called ‘Nordic Model’, where buyers of sex are criminalized but sellers of sex are not, certainly made a difference. According to Wikipedia the number of women selling sex and the number of men purchasing sex in that country significantly dropped in the past 20 years.
Several countries followed Sweden: so far Finland, Iceland, Norway, Canada, Northern Ireland and France passed through similar laws.
The main goals of the Nordic Model sound very noble:
- Protect human dignity and the gender equality by discouraging prostitution, which has a disproportionate impact on women and children
- Denounce and prohibit the purchase of sexual services because it creates a demand for prostitution
- Encourage those who engage in prostitution to report incidents of violence and to leave prostitution
However, here is what supporters of the Nordic Model don’t want to hear:
Let’s assume, based on some statistics and educated estimates, that in the countries above roughly around 12% of men (let’s call them ex-punters) had bought sex before the Nordic Model came into effect. Let’s say this figure dropped to about 7% (Wikipedia). In my opinion the remaining 5% of men could belong to three main categories:
- Ex-punters who have realized that buying sex was a bad thing and have become model citizens.
- Ex-punters who are wealthy enough to join the growing number of sex tourists. Why do you think those numbers are growing? Kenya and Thailand are desperately trying to enforce laws to protect their women and children with little success so far. These countries are sex tourists’ favorite destinations, though Eastern Europe is nearer and more convenient to most of the sex tourists who live in Europe.
- Ex-punters who are not wealthy enough to afford sex tourism suppress their need for improper sex until they can’t suppress it anymore. Then they get divorced (if they were married) and/or rape women.
The number of rape cases in Sweden grew dramatically a decade after introducing the Nordic Model. Some advocates of the Nordic Model attribute this to the way they changed reporting these cases; others blame it on the huge number of migrants, but let us apply some logic. Who is more likely to rape: those who bought sex before but can’t do it anymore or those who didn’t?
In Sweden the number of divorce cases has gone up too. We all know about imperfect marriages. We all know that divorces affect off-springs. Who is more likely to divorce: those who bought sex before but can’t do it anymore or those who didn’t?
Someone accused me that I want ‘society to offer a certain amount of women to sell sex’. That’s the last thing I want. It is never society who ‘offers’ sellers of sex. It is in most cases these women’s fear of poverty or their fear of evil pimps. Many of the sex workers develop drug addiction and they have no other means to finance this. It becomes a vicious circle for them. They need the drugs to be able to cope with selling sex but they need selling sex to fund their drug habit.
The more society fails to provide alternative means of survival for these women the worse position they get into. In Sweden and other ‘rich’ countries the Nordic Model isn’t disastrous because of the way these societies cater for the needs of people in general.
Can you imagine what would happen if they introduced the Nordic Model in African and Asian countries where society is unable to provide the basic support for the hundreds of thousands of girls and women who sell sex for bare survival?
The Nordic Model is not immune to violence against sex workers despite the drop in numbers. In 2015, Galina Sandeva, a 28 year old Bulgarian woman sex worker was murdered in Oslo.
December 17 was the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. That means to me ALL sex workers in the world.
As far as I know there is no system on Earth today which has got the law around buying and selling sex right. New Zealand “decriminalized” sex work in a pathetic way with inadequate regulations. Pimps and madams should never be allowed to profit from selling sex. Germany with its mega brothels managed to create a new breed of millionaire pimps who had the stomach to enter this line of business. These deplorable individuals – as their NZ counterparts – should all be in jail. How would they feel if their daughters were subjected to similar abuse as the girls they exploit and shortchange?
In my next blog in the New Year I’ll attempt to explore pragmatic ways how various countries should deal with this issue. Until then, to gain some insight, I would urge and encourage everyone to read my ‘Erotic Thriller’ THE SEX TOURIST!