Trafficking and Human Rights
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Trafficking and Human Rights

European and Asia-Pacific Perspectives

Edited by Leslie Holmes

Human trafficking is widely considered to be the fastest growing branch of trafficking. It has moved rapidly up the agenda of states and international organisations since the early-1990s, not only because of this growth, but also as its implications for security and human rights have become clearer. This fascinating study by European and Australian specialists provides original research findings on human trafficking, with particular reference to Europe, South-East Asia and Australia. A major focus is on how many states and organisations act in ways that undermine trafficking victims’ rights.
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Chapter 7: Trafficking in Human Beings for Sexual Purposes: Sweden’s Anti-trafficking Regime and the Lessons for Australia

Kevin Leong


Kevin Leong1 INTRODUCTION Sweden has a pioneering approach to combating trafficking in women for sexual purposes. Since 1998, Sweden has criminalised the purchase, rather than the sale, of sexual services. This law shifted criminal liability away from prostitutes and trafficked victims used for sexual slavery to the purchasers of sex, in an attempt to address what Sweden claims is the root cause of trafficking for sexual purposes and prostitution – that is, the male demand for female sexual services. Anti-trafficking laws, introduced in 2002, initially focused on criminalising trafficking for sexual purposes, and were expanded in 2004 to cover trafficking for other forms of exploitation. Sweden claims much success in the operation of these laws to reduce trafficked persons entering their country, through the deterrence effect on the purchasers of sexual services. How persuasive are these claims? This chapter is an evaluative survey of available published and unpublished literature. It will outline the laws, explain the reasons given for their introduction, and evaluate them in respect of their impact on various stakeholders in the criminal justice process (law enforcement officers, Swedish sex workers, and trafficked persons). Finally, it will endorse the view that trafficking should be seen as a relationship of exploitation, rather than a transmigratory crime, and in that way emphasise trafficked persons as victims of crime rather than as illegal immigrants. SWEDEN’S ANTI-TRAFFICKING REGIME In 1998, Sweden’s parliament passed the ‘Act Prohibiting the Purchase of Sexual Services 1998:408’ that criminalised prostitution through penalising the purchasers of sexual services,...

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