Violence Against Women:
Compare and contrast the Swedish approach to tackling prostitution, which is to criminalise punters with one other approach
There has been much debate about prostitution in Europe that affects concerns about health, employment and human rights. Legal changes are being introduced in various countries (Kilvington et al: 2001). However, this essay will examine the approaches to prostitution in Sweden and England. These countries are based upon different ways of conceptualising and responding to the problem of prostitution. For instance, Sweden aims to combat prostitution by criminalizes the ‘buyers’ but not the ‘sellers’, whereas, the English law is more complex and seeks to control prostitution by legalises the selling of sex but makes several offences around the ‘selling’ illegal. The correlation between the two countries will be scrutinized, looking at the both the similarities and differences.
Prostitution takes place in different frameworks and with opposing views. Some define men’s use of women in prostitution as a form of sexual violence, whilst others seek to normalise and legitimise ‘sex work’ as a normal job for women (Jeffreys:1997:1).
Prostitution has been defined by Flexner (1946) as ‘‘any person who habitually or intermittently has sexual relations more or less promiscuously for money or other mercenary considerations’’ (Jeffreys:1997:4). However, more recently, the following definition has produced interest and is evident in the direction of the Swedish approach towards prostitution, ‘‘any man is a prostitute abuser who, for the purpose of his sexual satisfaction, habitually or intermittently reduces another human being to a sexual object by the use of money or other mercenary considerations’’ (Jeffreys:1997:4).
Sweden became the first country to develop a new legislation in 1999 to criminalise the purchase of sexual services, at the same time as decriminalising its sale. (Gould:2001) The first step to criminalise...