The Swedish Approach to Prostitution and Trafficking in Human Beings Through a Gender Equality Lens

Reference work entry


In January 2019, it is twenty years since the law that prohibits the purchase of sexual services came into force in Sweden. The introduction of this legislation was the conclusion of many years of struggle by the Swedish feminist movement to integrate a feminist analysis into the legal and policy framework on prostitution and trafficking in human beings for sexual purposes and ultimately to visibilize and denounce the behavior of men, who purchase and sexually abuse women and girls through prostitution. The chapter provides an overview of the current legal, policy, and strategical framework on prostitution and human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation in Sweden, while giving insights into the current jurisprudence and historic events. It also aims to give an understanding about what a gender equality approach entails and counteracts some of the criticism that has been directed toward Sweden by pro-prostitution advocacy groups since the introduction of the legal and policy actions to discourage the demand.


Gender equality Feminism Prostitution Male violence against women Trafficking in human beings Law reform Discrimination against women and girls Prostitution users Demand Sexual services Pro-violation advocacy Human rights Criminal offence 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer International Publishing AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Feminism and Human RightsStockholmSweden

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