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The implementation of Sweden’s prostitution law at the local level

Journal article
Authors Narola Olsson
Published in Journal of Social Work
ISSN 1468-0173
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Social Work
Language en
Keywords gender, law, men, sex work, sexuality, Social work, adult, article, case report, city, clinical article, female, heterosexuality, human, male, police, prostitution, purchasing, Sweden
Subject categories Sociology


Summary: The study shows that apprehensions conducted on the suspicion of a purchase of sex target men purchasing sex from women, regardless of geographical location or arena of the local prostitution market. This support and legitimise a present norm within Swedish prostitution policy, regarding who is buying and who is selling sex. Findings: The results show that the three largest cities in Sweden have been targeted by the police, with a focus on a specific arena of the prostitution market in each city. Because of this, there are local differences in how the law is implemented, creating local consequences for individuals involved in prostitution. However, the results also show that gender and sexual orientation (i.e. heterosexuality) appear to be the two main factors for identifying individuals who are later apprehended on the suspicion of purchasing sex. Application: As certain norms and practices are established and reproduced through the implementation of Swedish prostitution law, professionals within social work, particularly within initiatives targeting individuals buying sex, must consider how this potentially influences their work. In terms of whom they meet, what kind of help and support they offer and what may fall outside the present norm. © The Author(s) 2020.

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