SAF Position on Legalization

While the SA Foundation definitely does not support the legalization of prostitution in Canada and supports the implementation of the Swedish model (see below), our primary focus is on the RECOVERY of these women from sexual exploitation. Therefore, our time and resources are spent entirely to meet this objective.

 

WHAT HAS SWEDEN DONE?

The Swedish government purports that gender equality will remain unattainable as long as men buy, sell and exploit women and children by prostituting them (Swedish Ministry of Industry, Employment and Communications, April 2005). The Swedish government stands by the notion that prostitution is a gender-specific phenomenon, where the majority of victims are overwhelmingly women and young girls, while the perpetrators are invariably men. It is stated in the Swedish Ministry of Industry, Employment and Communications, April 2005 correspondence that: If men did not regard it as their self-evident right to buy and sexually exploit women and children, prostitution and trafficking in human beings for sexual purposes would not exist. The link between human trafficking for sexual purposes and prostitution is also clearly enunciated by the Swedish government where it is stated that: international trafficking in human beings could not flourish but for the existence of local prostitution markets where men are willing and able to buy and sell women and children for sexual exploitation. 

Swedish Penal Code, Chapter 6, Section 11

A person who, in other cases that previously stated in this chapter, obtains a casual sexual relation in exchange for payment shall be sentenced for the purchase of a sexual service to a fine or imprisonment for at most six months.

That which is stated in the first section, also applies if the payment has been promised or made by someone else.

Background History

It is true that the strength and solidarity of Swedish feminists played a critical role in the passing of legislation that would criminalize the demand side of prostitution. However, it is also important to note that the feminist movement had its roots in a culture that was decidedly anti-liberal. The perception that there was a distinction between forced and voluntary prostitution and individuals having the right to sell their bodies if they wished to do so was not acceptable and disregarded.  This was (and is) in stark contrast with feminists in the UK, other Western European countries and North America.

Sweden’s sense of national pride and cultural identity as a leader in social, economic, gender equality and health care policies, in addition to an underlying fear of foreign threat and influence of liberal ideologies, also played a crucial role in the passing of criminalizing the demand legislation.

As such, Sweden continues to be a leader in gender equality policies, where it is accepted that gender equality will remain unattainable as long as men buy, sell and exploit women and children by prostituting them. Moreover the Swedish government supports the view that if men did not regard it as their self-evident right to buy and sexually exploit women and children, prostitution and trafficking in human beings for sexual purposes would not exist. Therefore countries around the world will continue to look to Sweden for policies on how to effectively address gender equality, prostitution, human trafficking, and violence against women and children.

Additionally, the following article was taken from the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women out of New York, USA and best explains what really happens when a country legalizes prostitution:

Ten Reasons for Not Legalizing Prostitution