Interesting follow-up to the story I posted about here, in which it was shown that, contrary to the claims of advocates of the Swedish model, brothels continue to thrive under the sex purchase ban. Now, it seems that they’ve had a little bit of help from friends in high places:
A high-ranking civil servant in Sweden’s defence ministry has been sacked after it was revealed he was involved in running several Thai massage parlours on the side…
The raids revealed that the wife of the defence ministry official operated three massage parlours in the Stockholm area and that he served as an alternate board member of the company that ran the operation.
And according to the Swedish Tax Agency,
“We have clear indications both in the trafficking of girls and that many deal with unreported wages and pay unreasonably low payroll taxes”.
This isn’t the first time a high-ranking official has been found to be personally involved in undermining Sweden’s claims to have all but eliminated trafficking and sex work. Last year, the chief of police in Uppsala, Sweden’s fourth largest city, was convicted on numerous charges including rape, purchasing sex, and “procuring” (translation: he was running a prostitution ring, involving underage girls). And regular Swedish press reports prove that thay have as many examples as any other country of police and government officers being (literally) caught with their pants down.
Sweden’s defenders would probably argue that any country can have its bad apples and that Sweden is doing more than most to try to stop them. And that’s fair enough. What gets my goat is the deliberate deception of those Swedish officials who come to other countries and tell us that they don’t have these problems since they enacted the sex purchase ban. The claim that it’s “impossible to run a brothel in Sweden” when your own fucking government official is running several of them – and when their tax non-compliance seems to be the main source of your interest in them.
We should be able to have an honest debate about the actual effects of the sex purchase ban. But that requires Swedish officials to be honest about the sex trade that has continued in their country even after the ban was enacted, and to stop pretending that they have solved their trafficking problem with the stroke of a legislative pen.