Saturday, October 1, 2011

"Feminist Ire" Blog Exposes the Damaging Effects of Swedish Anti-John Laws

Just this past Monday, Sept 26, Feminist Ire blog published a well-researched, heavily footnoted piece by Stephanie Lord and Wendy Lyon about the harmful effects of Swedish "anti-john" sex trade laws, imposing heavier penalties on the people who seek out the services of sex-workers. Meanwhile, oddly enough, selling sex remains legal in Sweden.

It seems in Ireland, where Feminist Ire is based, the government is considering adopting the Swedish model, without consulting or considering the needs of the sex-workers themselves. Unfortunately, this results in creating higher risks and dangers for sex-workers. Following are what I consider the two more vital paragraphs from the article:

More importantly, Swedish sex workers have reported significant adverse consequences as a result of the law – including that it has deterred some of the “ordinary” clients who only want regular sex, but has not deterred the dangerous ones. In short, criminalising the purchase of sex in Sweden has meant for Swedish sex workers that the odds of any particular client turning out to be dangerous are much higher. According to the sex workers – as opposed to their self-appointed spokespersons – since the clients are more nervous about being caught, the decision about whether to accept them has to be made much more quickly and without adequate time to assess whether they are dangerous [10]. For them, the loss of “ordinary” clients now means they have to accept clients they would not otherwise accept, including those who demand sex without a condom [11]. By making direct contact between buyer and seller more difficult, the law is also said to have increased the power of intermediaries (or in common language, pimps).[[12]

It has been widely recognised in the HIV/AIDS sector that sex workers who are not able to control their working conditions, most importantly condom negotiation, are at a higher risk of infection. This is the reason why virtually the entire global health sector supports the decriminalisation of sex work and granting sex workers occupational health and safety rights. The World Health Organization[13], UNAIDS[14], the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights[15], the UN Secretary General[16], the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health[17] – all of these have called for the removal of laws criminalising commercial sex between consenting adults, primarily because criminalisation is a recognised risk factor for HIV/AIDS.

Click Here to read the whole article, and when you have time, peruse their extensive bibliography. It seems local abolitionists are pursuing similar laws in Hawaii, to pursue and punish the men, women & transgender people who hire sex-workers. Unfortunately these efforts are counter-productive, and only create more problems for sex workers, and society at large.

No comments:

Post a Comment