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A swedish kind of death:
The effect of the law is mainly on public morals.

I see. Oh dear, there is public morals again, when I thought we were rid of it.

So that law, which (at least ostensibly) intended to eliminate an extremely exploitative profession, is a complete failure. Public morals don't interest me, and public morals don't improve the situation of the prostitutes either. Guys who buy sex aren't the issue for me, only poverty that makes people do jobs that are degrading is the issue. Giving residence permits and working permits and proper jobs to the women will reduce the pimps' profits. Encouraging the women to give evidence will increase the pimps' risk. This approach won't find the approval of the xenophobian mainstream, though. It's poison for getting re-elected.

by Katrin on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 02:47:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
there is public morals again, when I thought we were rid of it
You can get rid of public morals?

Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 02:48:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No. See below.
by Katrin on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 03:17:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Katrin:
So that law, which (at least ostensibly) intended to eliminate an extremely exploitative profession, is a complete failure.

As I noted when the law was introduced, the situation of the prosititutes where not high up on the debate agenda of either side. But a purpose of the law is to decrease prostitution through a decrease of demand, in turn both through risk of detection and through stigmatisation of sex buying.

After some googling I find a government inquiry (SOU 2010:49 if anyone wants to read it) concluded that during the first ten years the effects included a decrease of street prostitution in Sweden when compared to Norway and Denmark. Internet prostitution increased in similar numbers in all three countries, leading to the conclusion that compared to not having the law (as in Denmark and Norway).

I don't think you get rid of public morality, I think you change it. Perhaps we are using different definitions.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 03:07:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Internet prostitution increased in similar numbers in all three countries, leading to the conclusion that compared to not having the law (as in Denmark and Norway).


Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 03:11:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes.

After some googling I find a government inquiry (SOU 2010:49 if anyone wants to read it) concluded that during the first ten years the effects included a decrease of street prostitution in Sweden when compared to Norway and Denmark. Internet prostitution increased in similar numbers in all three countries, leading to the conclusion that compared to not having the law (as in Denmark and Norway) total effect was that the law decreased prostitution.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 04:57:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW, when assessing these developments, does the study mention Viagra? AFAIK another mayor booster of prostitution (and adverse health effects on prostitutes).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 05:14:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not that I can find.

I hasten to add that I have not read the whole thing, just the summary and the proposals. But the search function could not find Viagra. I think it would have been interesting if they had checked the developments in prostitution against Viagra sales in these three countries, but it appears they did not.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 07:51:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. I meant something else: the notion that "public morals" are objective norms and have to be upheld, as opposed to the approach of protecting vulnerable persons from consenting under pressure.
by Katrin on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 03:16:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought so. Poor choice of words there, changing the public attitude in regards to buying sex would have been less ambigious.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 05:05:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
improve the situation of the prostitutes

A restriction of the issue to that is based on an implicit assumption that policy choices have no effect on sex trade. But the point is that the policy choice of full legalisation subsidizes the 'industry'. Which also means more victims. Thus, for many, the effect of policy choices is not between slightly better or worse situation, but being made into a prostitute or not.

poverty that makes people do jobs that are degrading

It's much worse than that. Again, for the majority who were human-trafficked or tricked from abroad, this is not choice.

Giving residence permits and working permits and proper jobs to the women will reduce the pimps' profits.

As the German experience has shown, too, that's a false liberal hope. In a 'business' based on blackmail and threats, working permits are a paper and proper jobs a front, and legal safety in doing 'business' and reliance on state social systems increases pimp profits.

Encouraging the women to give evidence will increase the pimps' risk.

How so? If they can use the same extortion and threats as before (including the implication that they can't trust police as police is "in" on their business) to force the women to pretend to authorities that everything is voluntary and nice, it will actually decrease their risk. And that's the typical situation in all the stories on escaped girls, and the situation described in the above linked article, too.

This approach won't find the approval of the xenophobian mainstream

I'm not so sure. Bot the xenophobic and the liberal mainstream is just fine ignoring how all those East Europeans truly got into the 'business'. Not to mention the part who are clients.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 04:50:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I read proper jobs as non-prostitution jobs. Which gives a different reading.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 05:01:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I read it as prostitution jobs due to the "reduce pimp profits" part, but I may be mistaken.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 05:11:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, by proper jobs I mean non prostitution and non red light district jobs. Economic freedom from the sex industry.
by Katrin on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 05:27:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
" But the point is that the policy choice of full legalisation subsidizes the 'industry'."

A contested point. The counter position is that legality strengthens the position of the prostitutes, including the possibility for victims of traficking to free themselves. All "German experience" that I know of was only short term, did not include work permits, and was stopped because some xenophobes fantasised that women invent accusations in order to get residence and work permits. Short term safety is no safety at all. Do you know of any other experience?

by Katrin on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 05:29:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The counter position is that legality strengthens the position of the prostitutes

That's not a counter-position, but a challenged original position that doesn't touch the question of how this influences the level of human trafficking. And it's not evidence-based but a naive principle, which again ignores how easily all the supposed protections can be (and over and over again in all the sickening stories, are) sidestepped by the same tools of control.

work permits

This was the part I misunderstood. On this, I'm not entirely negative: a general work permit in place of a job-specific work permit would not tie employment to fully legalised prostitution and would lift the threat of expulsion once the human-trafficked girl is freed (and that's the main reason for the connection to immigration restrictions, I fully agree on that). On the other hand, the main problem I see is still the issue of making nominal legal protections real, as they won't be worth anything as long as the human-trafficked girl interacts with authorities while she has no true control over her papers and money.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 01:57:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Beware learned helplessness. This is not an insoluble problem.
It has to be possible to get trafficking victims to not cooperate in their own enslavement. Which is what this is  

 - involuntary labor with the proceeds stolen. Slavery.  -

it is very difficult to effectively police a crime that goes unreported, but that is not inherent in this problem itself - unlike the drug trade where everyone involved are sort of acting on their own volition, trafficking has unambiguous victims - people who have all the incentives in the world to see the police nail the criminals,  who know who the criminals are, and where to find them. So there has to a way to make enforcement work.

I mean, taking it to the limit and making the penalty for pimping public execution, confiscation of all property and the distribution of it to your victims would work, no?

by Thomas on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 05:36:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It has to be possible to get trafficking victims to not cooperate in their own enslavement.

I'm waiting for proposals for freeing them from the blackmail and threats and ensuring that they are in true control of both their documents and their 'earnings'.

taking it to the limit and making the penalty for pimping public execution, confiscation of all property and the distribution of it to your victims would work, no?

Harsh punishments against pimping would help drive it underground, but its effectiveness is still dependent on getting the evidence.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 01:24:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW, what's your take on the Swedish approach of demand destruction?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 01:58:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it is very difficult to effectively police a crime that goes unreported, but that is not inherent in this problem itself - unlike the drug trade where everyone involved are sort of acting on their own volition, trafficking has unambiguous victims - people who have all the incentives in the world to see the police nail the criminals,  who know who the criminals are, and where to find them. So there has to a way to make enforcement work.

That presumes that the victims trust the police.

I'm an upstanding pillar of the community who has nothing particularly incriminating to hide, whose employer is a highly respected upstanding pillar of the community, and who has never personally been accosted by unfriendly police officers. And I have still seen enough examples of police behavior that I wouldn't trust a beat cop with a bag of candy, nevermind the continuation of my breathing privileges.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 02:54:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Uhm. The logic of the draconian punishments was mainly to preclude reprisals - dead pimps beat up nobody.
There are less harsh things that would also help - for example, not automatically deporting the women in question, but instead having some sort of plan for putting their lives back together.
Re; trusting the police. This too, is an issue that can be fixed. Better training. Job-video-logging. It would cost very little to record everything that happens near a cop. Cameras and storage media are cheap, sticking the former on their uniforms and the latter on their belts would not cost much. And would take all element of "he said, she said" out of any disputes about their behavior. Which is better for the cops, and better for the citizens.
by Thomas on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 03:10:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Uhm. The logic of the draconian punishments was mainly to preclude reprisals - dead pimps beat up nobody.

You're still assuming that the police will actually pursue the case, and that the pimp will be convicted.

And that the pimp doesn't have friends who will revoke your breathing privileges on his behalf. After all, a democratic state can't just round up all a mafioso's friends and put them in a concentration camp. Rule of law doesn't work like that.

This too, is an issue that can be fixed. Better training. Job-video-logging. It would cost very little to record everything that happens near a cop. Cameras and storage media are cheap, sticking the former on their uniforms and the latter on their belts would not cost much. And would take all element of "he said, she said" out of any disputes about their behavior. Which is better for the cops, and better for the citizens.

A good deal better for the citizens and for some of the cops. Not so great for others.

There's the outright thugs, of course, who will object to no longer being able cook their testimonies or push their colleagues to cook theirs. My heart bleeds for them, but we sadly need to take them seriously as a political faction.

Additionally, there are certain times (such as the recent Chinese state visit) where cops are given a set of official instructions (such as keeping the foreign dignitary safe) and a set of... less official instructions (... from seeing any Tibetan flags). I'm not convinced that scapegoating the cop who gets caught on tape obeying an unwritten, extralegal order will do anything at all to make that sort of orders stop happening. And until that sort of orders stops happening, the police has what you might call a credibility issue.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 04:15:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is part of what I meant with "Better for the cops". If the cops routinely log everything, this shields them from orders of this kind. Because those would also get logged. The idea being that the system is always on during working hours. It would also be a helpful investigative tool, just because digital storage stomps all over memory for reliability, and with good tagging habits, one could go back and review things, and check with coworkers if witness seven is as suspicious as he seems to you, or if he just did not like the cut of your jib.
by Thomas on Sat Jun 15th, 2013 at 10:16:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is part of what I meant with "Better for the cops". If the cops routinely log everything, this shields them from orders of this kind. Because those would also get logged. The idea being that the system is always on during working hours.

This only holds if (a) all or most communications are intercepted with high fidelity, (b) all or most intercepted communications are routinely investigated by independent third parties and (c) bosses are prosecuted for giving illegal orders.

If a significant fraction of communications are unmonitored, either because they are not intercepted or because it requires an active complaint before the records are accessed, it just creates an incentive to hush up the communications. And if cops cannot trust that a boss who gives an illegal order will reliably go down in flames upon exposure, they have an incentive to collaborate.

And since the boss is frequently only one or two handshakes from the Minister of Justice, and since the Minister of Justice is accountable only to a parliamentary majority, not to the rule of law, the officer cannot count on this happening.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jun 15th, 2013 at 03:01:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... really, take a moment and consider if you are not overdoing your cynicism. I called it learned helplessness before, but I see this often - people being way to good at thinking of ways for a reform to fail, and not vetting their pessimism right. Specifically. You really think any politician is knowingly going to order a cop to be a law-breaking thug on camera, and get away with it too?

Uhm. Not bloody likely.

by Thomas on Sun Jun 16th, 2013 at 04:34:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The more likely problem is going to be political resistance to implementing such a system at all, due to the above. Might in fact be the reason it is not done currently, and puts a really depressing spin on the way lots of places view citizens recording cops. The police are agents of the social order, if they are doing their jobs even remotely right, all of their actions should stand up to the light of day.
by Thomas on Sun Jun 16th, 2013 at 04:38:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jun 16th, 2013 at 07:57:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You give this briefing prior to the event:

This is a controversial visit, and as such we must be prepared for attempts by protesters to force a confrontation with the delegation of foreign dignitaries. I would like to stress the importance to our relationship with the visiting country of keeping the delegation safe and keeping the event running smoothly. But I would also like to stress the importance of respecting the democratic rights of protesters to gather and voice their concern in an appropriate manner.

If the police disperse a lawful protest during the event, you release the following statement to the press:

The police was given clear instructions to respect the democratic rights of protesters to gather and voice their concern. It is deeply regrettable that individual officers have taken their desire to keep the delegation safe to inappropriate levels, and a full inquiry will determine the level and extent of culpability.

If the police fails to disperse a protest that annoys the foreign dignitary, you send the following memo to the chief of police:

The august foreign dignitaries were accosted by protesters representing their domestic opposition parties outside the headquarters of one of our large export businesses. This left the delegation with with the highly unfortunate impression that the government condones, or perhaps even supports, opposition protests at official state visits. Such support would, of course, be a gross violation of long-standing diplomatic protocol.

It is the view of the foreign service that the conduct of this event should be examined for possible lessons on how we may better ensure that future visits proceed smoothly.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jun 16th, 2013 at 07:48:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
During the Stuttgart 21 protests, the police were told to be confrontational so that "violence-ready elements" among the protesters will 'show their true face'. "Confrontational" meant unprovoked tear gas attacks and baton charges and pepper spray into people's eyes from short distance.

When asked to justify their behaviour, police claimed that they were provoked by violent protesters who used pepper spray themselves and threw stones, and showed two videos as proof. The date/time of the videos was blackened out. Later the same videos were shown in court, with date/time exposed, proving that those events happened hours after the initial police attacks.

(If you speak German, check this TV report for the details.)

The scandalisation and exposure of this case of requested-from-above police violence is not unconnected to the fact that victims were mostly 'decent' middle-class and upper-middle-class people who couldn't be assumed to have been some Black Bloc idiots who 'got what they deserved'. When it hits hard-leftists, working-class youth or immigrants, the evidence will get much less media play.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Jun 16th, 2013 at 02:48:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The German legal change coincides almost perfectly with the eastern extension of the EU and a drop in the wages of low-skilled labor. Of course prostitution went up. As far as pimping is concerned, there is no control group. The German experience shows very little.
by oliver on Tue Jun 18th, 2013 at 09:07:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reading more in SOU 2010:49 (pdf in swedish).

The reports says that since 1977 prostitution has officially been seen as exploitation, primarily dealt with by social services to help prostitutes leave and prevent young people that exhibit at risk behaviour from entering prostitution.

The legal change in 1998 was intended to reduce demand and increase the relative position of prostitutes, both which appears to have worked. It was not intended as a silver bullet, but came in a legal package intended to reduce sexual and gender based violence (Kvinnofridslagen). The main thrust remains to use social services both to reduce the number of prostitutes and the number of sex buyers. In light of this the report does not find the lack of jail sentences problematic in the average case. However the report argues for increased maximum sentence to two years in order to give space for different degrees of jail time in case of aggrevating circumstances (like trafficking). The cabinet did not follow that recommendation afaik.

On the topic of trafficking the report concludes that Sweden has as a result of this law had less of an increase then Norway and Denmark. Less demand and higher risk reduces the proftis.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 08:11:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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