Published in Aftonbladet the 25th April 2007

Four male upper secondary school students from Laholm have “confessed” to visiting a brothel during a school trip to Germany. The guys are all of legal age and it is perfectly legal to buy sexual services in Germany.

Despite this the small incident has been blown up to a scandal in the media! Is it really worth it to public shame them because of that? The press writes that the boys took advantage of women, student’s opinionates that it points to a demeaning view of women. And sure, it is a dreadful view of women to have that you automatically believe that sexworking women in Germany are being exploited and when you try to make adults sexual activities shameful. Just because there are only a few who choose to work with sex, doesn’t mean that all sexworkers are forced.

Germany has the official policy that prostitution is the sale of sexual services. Both the adult who voluntary sells sex and the buyer is accepted. Those who involuntary is selling sex should on the other hand get help from society and minors shall be protected. Prostitution under coercion is looked upon the same way as organized crime. In the year 2002 prostitution was legalized in Germany. The idea was to stop discrimination of sexworkers along with a larger social- and legal safety for them.

In Sweden all prostitution is seen as a forced act, the female who is selling sex is a victim of a structured mechanism. The Swedish authorities are also hopeful that the sextrade is going to stop if you make it full of shame, illegal and as inhospitable as possible.

The laws in both countries are the work of feminists. In Germany the equality policy in prostitution is focused on obtaining the same conditions for all work and the sexworkers must not be discriminated against. Sweden puts its focus on the relationship between men and women according to radical feminists hypothesis. That sexworkers would need social- and legal safety doesn’t even get mentioned in the debate.

In Germany every woman has the right to choose what ever she want to do with her body whereas in Sweden there has for a long time existed a public “truth” that sexworking women are not capable of making rational decisions at all, and definitely not in regards to there own bodies.

Which country has a terrible view of women and which country has come the furthest in terms of equality?

Isabella Lund,
SANS – Sexworkers and allies network in Sweden