One saw that prostitution was the sale not of sexual intimacy, but of what survivors called sexual abuse. The other thought it should be a regulated, ordinarily taxed profession. That the victims of this profession were often illegally in the country, often human trafficked slaves, was ignored.
The one country radically reduced prostitution, and almost eliminated human trafficking. The other, increased trafficking, and the abuse that accompanied it.
'The grim reality of prostitution and its inextricable links with trafficking were highlighted in a seminar organised by the European Women's Lobby (EWL) in the European parliament on 1 October.
'Examining EU member states, Sweden and Germany have developed opposite legislation on prostitution, with the same aim of tackling trafficking and organised crime. During the EWL seminar, police officers from both countries shared their insights into the effectiveness of the contrasting policy models in place in each country.
'Germany embraced a 'practical' approach in 2000, aimed at controlling the system of prostitution by decriminalising procuring and encouraging the integration of women in prostitution into the regular labour-market.
'The protection of the rights of prostituted persons while clearing the way for a targeted crackdown on organised crime was central to this stance. At the same time, Sweden, inspired by a more human rights-based analysis, viewed prostituted persons as victims entitled to specialised support, by mobilising political will to tackle demand (by banning the purchase of sex) to render supply redundant and eliminate the primary root cause for both prostitution and trafficking.
'According to chief superintendent Helmut Sporer, from Augsburg's criminal investigation department in Germany, the normalisation of prostitution has increased the vulnerability of prostituted persons, while transforming Germany into a popular sex tourism destination.
'The average woman in prostitution is between 18 and 20 years of age, trafficked from Romania, fearful of recourse to the police; pimps lead their 'businesses' like any other entrepreneurs, and the purchase of sex is just like any other trade market.
'Sweden meanwhile, has halved street prostitution in 13 years without increases in more hidden forms of exploitation; the numbers of men who purchase sex has dropped by almost half, and the population's support for the law, initially a meagre 30 per cent, has risen to 70 per cent.' Cécile Gréboval 'Policymakers show 'lack of political will' to tackle root cause of sex trafficking' TheParliament.com Parliament Magazine 9th of October 2013, accessed 13th October 2013 http://www.theparliament.com/latest-news/article/newsarticle/policymakers-show-lack-of-political-will-to-tackle-root-cause-of-sex-trafficking/#.UlrrPFDItwi