Sweden’s Minister of Equality, Mona Sahlin, says “punishing the customer” has lead to a decrease in prostitution in that country, adding that “we cannot allow men to buy women.”
In an interview with the Spanish newspaper El País, Sahlin said that “according to a study on prostitution in Europe, the number of people seeking prostitutes in Sweden is 13% lower than in the rest of the continent.”
The study is based on data gathered since 1999, when Sweden passed a law prohibiting “the purchase of sexual services” under threat of fines or 6 months imprisonment for customers.
Sahlin clarified that her department “does not see prostitution as a job,” adding that despite initial criticism from certain sectors, the new law “has the support of 8 out of every 10 Swedes.”
On the other hand, Sahlin recalled that programs to help women get out of prostitution do exist and that “many organizations are helping a lot of people to be reintegrated, and in many cases, to overcome drug addiction.”