Outlaw paying for sex, say Scots campaigners

Scotland should tackle prostitution and human trafficking by adopting Swedish laws against paying for sex, campaigners say.

Since the law changed in Sweden in 1998, the authorities have reported significantly reduced levels of prostitution. In Göteborg street prostitution dropped by 69% in a year.

Public attitudes towards paying for sex have also altered, with most people considering the practice unacceptable. There are also reports that the change has helped reduce levels of human trafficking.

Now the deputy leader of Glasgow City Council, James Coleman, is leading a campaign to imitate the Swedish model in a bid to tackle prostitution and human trafficking in Scotland.

He said: “There’s no doubt it has worked in Sweden and there’s no reason why it can’t work here too. There can be no question that prostitution is exploitative and abusive of the women involved.”

Ann Hamilton, general manager of Glasgow Community and Safety Services, agreed: “The Swedish law put a clear message that the prostitution of women is wrong,” she said, “I don’t see why we can’t do the same in Scotland.”

The Westminster Government is also looking at Sweden as a potential model for law reform in England and Wales. However, changes to the law on prostitution were recently dropped from a crime Bill making its way through Parliament so that the Government could more speedily outlaw prison officers’ strikes.