There is a growing debate surrounding the so-called “Swedish model” – a policy based on criminalisation of the demand side of sex work, that is, punishing the clients of sex workers. The home of this policy, as its name shows, is Sweden, a country famous for its zero-tolerance policies on both drug-use and sex work. There is a strong radical feminist lobby in the European Union that promotes the the Swedish model as a successful way to reduce the sexual exploitation of women. A recent special issue of The Lancet condemned the Swedish model, and called for the decriminalisation of both the demand and the supply side of sex work. But what do the people in Sweden who are most directly affected - sex workers - think about this policy? We filmed a presentation by Pye Jakobsson, a well-known Swedish sex worker activist, about the roots and history of the Swedish model, at the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia.
Text: Peter Sarosi
Video: Istvan Gabor Takács