The 26th of August (2015), Birgitta Ohlsson and Simon Hedlin published a text in the American Newspaper “Los Angeles times”. As the text has no scientific substance at all I wrote this text to counter the false claims, distortions and even a lie that are referred to, but naturally the editorial staff of the paper refused to publish it. One are not allowed to clarify when abolitionist are using false facts. But this is what I wrote:
It’s depressing to find out that on the 26th of August a text was published here by former Swedish EU Minister Birgitta Ohlsson and her former political advisor Simon Hedlin; their text was full of factual errors and false claims. What both the authors are doing is hard “cherry-picking”, in that that they only pick out the few formulations that can be used as support for their own self-righteous position. Surveying their claim that ‘its [New Zeeland] Prostitution Law Review Committee reported that the law did little to curb violence in the sex trade’ one can establish that it’s a pure lie. Nowhere in the report such a claim exists, but instead a review of how exposed to violence workers have been during the last 12 months and that street-based workers were most likely to face violence. But, contrary, the report says, that after the decriminalisation managed workers had raised their liability to report violent incidents and ‘Qualitative interviews revealed sex workers’ perception that these increased rights … protected them from violent attacks; were mentally enabling, allowing them to feel supported and safe.’. They also conclude, that ‘one of the most important health issues facing sex workers is violence and this is often encouraged by the illegal status of sex work.’ That is, among other, “the Swedish model.”
What we see is a typical behaviour by individuals of the kind that Birgitta Ohlsson & Simon Hedlin constitute, that is to argue with false “facts”; to suppress everything that speaks against their own moralistic belief, and to distort. So, for example, they suppress that the NZ-report says that ‘Despite the perception that most sex workers are coerced into entering the sex industry, only a very small number of sex workers reported being made to work by someone else at the time of entry and after (an average of 3.9% across the three sectors).’ That means, that forcing into prostitution is minimal. Of course thay also suppress the fact, that in the decriminalized environment there are very few minor sexworkers (1.3 %), that ‘few young people who can generally be termed ‘at risk’ are involved in prostitution’ and that ‘The Committee considers that in the case of New Zealand, there is no link between the sex industry and human trafficking.’ The later can connect to the false claim of Ohlsson and Hedlin that ‘several studies of prostitution laws have reported that in countries where buying sex has been decriminalized, sex trafficking typically is more prevalent.’ Like other claims Ohlsson & Hedlin do they don’t refer to a concrete “study”, which simply depends in that no such “study” exists, because – as Ronald Weitzer shows – the “studies” have not any solid ground. “Reports” and “claims” are several, but if using real figures – which even in the “Trafficking-in-persons-reports” can be studied – there are no evidence what so ever that trafficking should rise in countries where prostitution is legal or decriminalized. In New Zeeland no case of sex-trafficking has been reported after the decriminalization.
The space does not allow countering all the incorrectness that Ohlsson & Hedlin presents, but in the end one can ascertain that their text is a proof of how a big failure the Swedish sex-purchasing-law is, as it has to be defended through lies and distortion of facts. But just to shortly show which value their claims about Germany have, the German report (http://www.cahrv.uni-osnabrueck.de/reddot/BroschuereProstGenglisch.pdf) says that ”Since the Act came into force, neither the benefits expected nor the negative effects feared have manifested to the extent originally assumed.” Furthermore that ”The vast majority of prostitutes and operators of prostitution businesses surveyed had a positive view of the existence of the Prostitution Act”, that “It became clear that the route to social security is currently not so much to be found in waged employment relationships but rather through improving working conditions and above all continuing to reduce stigmatization” and finally that “…there is a lack of clear political will to change, and the general stagnation gives the impression that, although politicians passed the Act, ultimately they did not really want it.” That is, that the “failure” is not depending on the legalization but on authorities unwillingness to fulfill the reform. The German report contradicts the “Swedish model”.
Furthermore, the Swedish sex-purchase-law – opposite to Amnesty’s decision – has never been meant to be any protection or help for sexworkers. As Don Kulick notes, ‘that the purpose of the law was first and foremost to “mark a stance” or “send a message” that “society” did not accept prostitution; hence, the impact of the law on prostitutes was not their primary concern.’ So the purpose of the Swedish sex-purchase-law is not to protect sex workers (who generally refuse the law), but to satisfy the egocentric feelings of those self-righteous politicians and activists who feel they are so “right” in their believes so they can justify that everyone must live according to their persuasion. That is, pure old moralistic bullying!