Sweden Law Rids Streets of 'Johns'

Crackdown on men soliciting prostitutes hailed as success
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 8, 2007 7:50 PM CST
If caught in the act, a john in Sweden could face up to six months in prison.   (Shutterstock.com)

(Newser) – A Swedish law that penalizes men who solicit sex with prostitutes rather than the women themselves has been a huge success in cleaning up the streets and reducing human trafficking, proponents say. But Swedish sex workers see the ban as an undue burden on an already burdensome job and argue almost unanimously for decriminalization, Der Spiegel reports.

"We only have between 105 and 130 women active (in prostitution) in Stockholm today. In Oslo, it's 5,000," says a Stockholm police inspector. Under the law, a john caught in the act faces 6 months in jail. Penalties are stiffer for pimps. Cases of abused prostitutes, however, are up, as are STD rates, with limited options pushing prostitutes into iffy situations. Still, the ban has overwhelming national support.