torsdag 28 november 2013

Puritan winds in Europe – Part I

Strong puritan winds are currently raging over several European countries. In Sweden, purchase of sexual services was made illegal in 1999 through the so called "Sexköpslagen". Sweden was soon followed by Iceland and Norway. The new Norweigan government, though, has promised to tear up the Sex Purchase Act because of its failure to stop prostitution and its catastrophic consequenses for the sexworkers, who are now forced to work in an illegal underground mileu instead of the safe circumstances in legal brothels. The Swedish example has certainly proved to be a failure. Still, and ignoring the Norweigan experiences of this experiment, the French socialist government now want to import this model. In Germany, where prostitution was made legal and where sexworkers can work under safe conditions far away from street corners and cheap hotels, people who claim themselves to be "feminist" also try to ride on these winds of intolerance. The anti-sexworker propagandist Alice Schwarzer managed to persuade 99 German celebrities (and not so well known "celebrities") to sign an open letter in her magazine Emma, demanding a total ban on prostitution. This has followed a series of articles in the large German magazine Der Spiegel claiming that Germany has become "Europes whore house". Last monday, Frau Schwarzer met a panel of two sexworkers, a brothel owner, a politician from the Green Party who was key in the legalization of prostitution in Germany and a police investigator, in the Television show Menschen bei Maischbereger. Ignoring the arguments of a sexworker that, she did this of free will and wasn't forced into it or did it for the money, ms Schwarzer claimed the sexworker was both expolited by her customers and a profiteer of human trafficking. "Trafficking" and "exploitation" obviously are only empty words for debaters with their morals closer to the morals of christian sexual puritanism than to the one of classic feminism. Sadly enough, German media, which former used to be quite positive to sexworkers and their customers, now seems to jump on the puritan bandwaggon, calling prostitution "slavery". They are mixing the cards and confusing exchange of sexual services for money between matures with sexual slave trade and sex with underagers. The German legalization has made prostitution transparent and saved women from pimps and dangerous customers. In Sweden, the result of the Swedish Sex Purchase Act has been the opposite. Swedish prostitution is booming and a lot of the sexworkers are underage and/or lured in from Eastern European countries. They have no rights and no social security and are often abused by both their customers and harrassed by the police. The sex trade has gone underground. This is not a rule model to follow – it is a warning example. It would be a catastrophy if France and Germany followed in the footstpes of the doomed Swedish model. Prostitution laws by country. Red is illegal, blue is neither legal nor legal, green is legal.

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