For those who don’t know, the essence of the set of new laws on prostitution – the so called ‘Nordic Model’ – is to punish people who buy sex. The sex workers – predominantly women – are considered ‘victims’, hence they are not breaking the law. More and more developed countries are jumping on the ‘Nordic Model’ bandwagon. Sweden was the first to pass this kind of law in 1999. Finland, Norway, Iceland, Canada, Northern Ireland, France, Ireland, and most recently Scotland and Israel followed suit.
Typically the most vehement proponents of the ‘Nordic Model’ are sex workers of the past who already quit the ‘trade’. It’s easy to understand the reason. Once they’re not financially dependent on sex work, they can look back like no outsider can to the dehumanizing abuse most of them had to endure.
The most vehement opponents of the ‘Nordic Model’ are sex workers currently in the ‘trade’. Their income and safety are both jeopardized. The client base of active sex workers in these countries is shrinking. Those who buy sex are breaking the law, hence they’re criminals. Criminals are more likely to commit violent acts. Consequently sex workers earn less and are more exposed to getting hurt.
Nobody seems to notice, recognize, or study the three main negative side effects of the ‘Nordic Model’:
- More women who have nothing to do with sex work are raped.
- Increase in number of broken down marriages and divorces.
- Increase in sex tourism.
In a previous blog I was writing mainly about the first two points. Here I want to focus on the third one.
The main ‘holiday’ destinations of sex tourists are countries in Africa and Asia.
Here are a couple of the many articles from Kenya and from Thailand related to this issue. The authorities in these countries are trying to pass laws to reduce the number of sex tourists, so far with little success.
The main reason for girls and young women offering sex for cash in African and Asian countries is overwhelmingly the same: extreme poverty and/or the fear of it. Thirteen year old girls are selling sex for a plate of food or a couple of empty beer bottles in Zimbabwe. See these articles for example:
Girls and women are also in mortal danger. The beachfront on the picture above is from the South African coastal town of Durban. Please take a look at these articles from that country:
Sex tourism just aggravates this problem. When the new breed of sex tourists from ‘Nordic Model’ countries visit Africa or Asia, they are no longer treated as criminals when paying for sex. They pay a higher rate than their local counterparts (but still a fraction of the price of sex in their home country), and they’re looked after with all the attention they don’t deserve. They are called ‘clients’ and are treated with the utmost respect. If they are after the GFE (girlfriend experience) they get that. Kinky acts are provided for them even without charging extra fees. They have the greatest time of their life.
At the same time most of these ‘clients’ don’t even have the moral sense of rats. Their numbers are on the rise. What motivates the newcomers? There is a simple explanation: the ‘Nordic Model’ in their own countries is turning more and more men into sex tourists. A proper study is way overdue to explore the relationship between the ‘Nordic Model’ and sex tourism.