What national political matter can be more important than preserving human rights? None, you say? Right. Perhaps it’s time to conclude that our Prime Minister Erna Solberg is no better than her predecessor Jens Stoltenberg. I have yet to see her make a clear and unambiguous statement on the Sex Purchase Law (aka the Swedish Model) in Norway, and I find her evasiveness most peculiar. A Prime Minister must act when human rights are violated and not keep silent, as the case is now. Let me put this plainly: if you don’t repeal a law that violates 12 human rights then there can only be one logical explanation: it is not taken seriously enough. It is not prioritized. Is the gravity of the matter so hard to fathom?
A nation that is subjected to a ban on consensual sexual transactions is a nation where the citizens are being trampled on and scorned. By definition, the Sex Purchase Law is precisely that: consensual sexual transactions are punished with fines or imprisonment.
If the police wish to dramatically increase the number of detained «criminals» I highly recommend stakeouts in any night club or bar. Alternatively, they may scrutinize any marriage or relationship; and of course extend this scrutiny to politicians and within their own ranks. How many holidays, dinners, gifts have been traded for sex within a relationship? How many pro forma marriages have been arranged where material values are used as currency in exchange for sex? The answer is self-evident. Every day people trade goods for sex in all kinds of relations. There are no exceptions unless you abstain from sexual activities.
In reality, Norway has become a prison where the citizens are unpremeditated criminals and consensual sex is labeled dangerous and immoral. The politicians have created a collective punishment for something that is essentially healthy for mind and body. How thoroughly perplexing and infinitely stupid!
In addition to being an absurd and criminalizing embrace of the nation, this law has direct consequences for the sex workers. Several questions need to be asked:
Is it important to fight stigma? If the answer is yes, then the law must be reversed. It has intensified the stigma towards sex workers and clients significantly. The act of criminalizing a group will increase stigma and humiliation instantly. Sex work is not inherently harmful, but the stigmas following the Sex Purchase Law are. Prejudice, lies, suppositions and myths surrounding sex work cement marginalization and worsen the situation for the implied parties dramatically. But it does not stop here. Society is infiltrated by a distorted sexual moral where stigma and abolition take center stage.
When sex work is criminalized, it forces the market underground. The result is disastrous. Both clients and sex workers might be subjected to violence, robbery and extortion. Hasty transactions take place in unsafe and hidden places, away from the police, and both parties are inclined to take bigger risks; hence security crumbles. The brutal law enforcement carried out by the police is yet another clear example of how this law leads to violations of human rights.
You need to listen to credible and politically independent organizations that are very clear on the consequences of criminalizing sex work: WHO, UNAIDS, UNWOMEN, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International reject such models and push for de-criminalization. They underline how an abolitionist approach leads to human rights violations, increases risks of transmitting HIV-infection, disempowers sex workers and fuels discrimination and violence. You cannot ignore these reports. In a society where stigma and discrimination are readily accepted violence and aggression towards marginalized groups will escalate and further incite dramatic effects. It will change the mentality of the population: easily swayed masses join in on the harassment, and fanaticism becomes a part of children’s adolescence. It is daunting, but true.
Is it important to fight for women’s rights? Yes, of course.
If you want to work for women’s rights, then these rights must include all women, no matter how they choose to earn money, as long as it’s voluntary and legal.
Are equal rights important? Of course, but the Sex Purchase Law has nothing whatsoever to do with equal rights. On the contrary: it undermines female sex workers, it disempowers them and it casts doubts on whether a woman can make own decisions based on free will. In addition, there are a lot of transsexual and male sex workers. They are easily ignored in the hateful propaganda of the radical feminists whose only focus is to «save female victims». So much for rights and gender equality in Norway…
The Sex Purchase Law is beyond surreal, extremely oppressive and thoroughly infernal. It pollutes the whole nation. I am ashamed to be a part of a country that has effectuated this type of legislation, and I have many times wondered if a change of citizenship is the only way to escape this national defilement.
I have to ask again: what is more important for politicians than ensuring basic human rights for all of the citizens they serve? Is the government willingly taking a passive stance towards the obvious violation the Sex Purchase Law inflicts? If not, the solution is apparent:
Repeal the sex purchase law now! You have the necessary support from the Liberals and the Green Party.
PS! Please check the following pages in the reports:
WHO: «Good practice recommendations»
UNWOMEN: page 2, point 2
UNAIDS: pages 28-29, about de-criminalization and 193-201, about legislation in New Zealand and Australia.
Human Rights Watch: paragraphs 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12.