For those not familiar, the Swedish Model (variously referred to as the Nordic Model or simply “End Demand”) is a sex work criminalization approach based on sex work exclusionary radical feminist (SWERF) ideology that was introduced in Sweden in 1999 with the express goal of eliminating prostitution. Contrary to revisionist history, the primary aim was not to end trafficking or to achieve any of the other harm reduction objectives most responsible and impartial experts believe should be the priority outcomes for any sex work policy reform. Under the model the supply side of prostitution (i.e, selling services) is ostensibly legal, while the buy side (i.e., payment by clients) is criminalized.
Harms to sex workers under this approach include: continued police brutality, ongoing stigma, dismissive attitudes towards on the job violence and assault, potential loss of parental rights, additional safety risks due to an inability to effectively screen clients, combative interaction with landlords frequently leading to successive evictions, and reduction in prices that negatively impacts sex workers’ ability to earn a living wage due to reduced demand/increased competition. Its implementation is almost universally opposed by all active sex worker advocacy groups as well as numerous notable organizations such as Amnesty International, the World Health Organization, UNAIDS, NFPA, the Global Network of Sex Work Projects, the Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women, the Global Commission on HIV and Law, Human Rights Watch, The Open Society Foundation, UN Women, and Anti-Slavery International.
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