This sickness doth infect the very life-blood of our enterprise. – William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part One (IV,i)
If you pay any attention at all to the “debates” amateurs indulge themselves in over how prostitution should be “handled” or “regulated” (discussions that rarely, if ever, involve actual prostitutes), you’ve encountered the term “Swedish Model” (AKA “Nordic Model”). My column of one year ago today contained a simple explanation of this “model”, its shockingly sexist basis and a short synopsis of its progress at that time:
The Swedish Model…is based on the premise that women are moral imbeciles who are psychologically incompetent to determine the conditions under which we will consent to sex, and the state therefore assumes the right to set those conditions for us. Like girls under the age of consent in most countries, women in Swedish Model countries are neither allowed to consent to certain sex partners, nor can they be held liable for their actions if they violate the law; since only men are considered fully competent to make sexual decisions, Swedish Model law only punishes men for violating that law. Up until now only three Scandinavian countries (Norway, Sweden and Iceland) had such a low opinion of women’s competency, but despite the total lack of demonstrable positive results the Swedish disease appears to be spreading; several jurisdictions in the United States appear to be flirting with it, a neofeminist group presumed to “demand” that Canada adopt it last year, Labour MSP Trish Goodman has repeatedly tried to force it through the Scottish parliament, and England only narrowly averted it by replacing its last Labour government. The latest country to jump on the repressive, misogynistic bandwagon is Ireland…
Though I have nothing to add about the model itself, I thought a report on how the various patients exposed to this political disease were faring might prove instructive.
Sweden: “Patient Zero” is like a psychotic HIV-positive man who makes an effort to give it to as many others as possible. The Swedish government is actually proud of its deeply-twisted view of male-female relations and works hard to export it, even to the point of producing pamphlets and sending representatives to lie to other governments about its “success”. But despite its grandiose claims about overwhelming public support for the “model”, its attempts to brainwash toddlers so as to ensure future support for it and its harsh suppression of women who dare to challenge its “philosophical” basis, the truth is that 81% of Swedes say they are “angry” about the law and 10% of Swedish girls report having taken money for sex at least once. A few brave Swedish politicians keep opposing the law while others use their positions to run clandestine brothels, and there is no evidence sex work has decreased even one iota, just as it never decreases under any criminalization regime.
Australia: The Aussies appear highly resistant to this particular malady, and have even attempted to help others overcome it by releasing a report which “dismiss[es] it as a load of politically-motivated codswallop unsubstantiated by facts.”
Canada: The efforts of neofeminists to infect this portion of the Commonwealth have failed dramatically, and despite government efforts to dehumanize prostitutes and deny them rights, the opinions of the public, the media and the courts are all moving toward decriminalization. At the time of this writing a constitutional challenge against the anti-whore laws is in progress, and the Himel Decision striking down the laws in Ontario is still being discussed by an appeals court.
Denmark: Though sex worker advocates are fighting it and few politicians support it, “sex trafficking” fetishists have even succeeded in exposing this usually-sensible country to the Swedish disease. Though the fetishists would like to believe they have a chance of full infection, Laura Agustín tells me advocates there are reasonably confident that it hasn’t a chance.
Europe: Despite the fact that individual European countries have their own prostitution policies and most are quite happy with their own versions of legalization, the soi-disant “European Women’s Lobby” managed to scam public funds to produce a ridiculous “end demand” commercial; some highly-placed officials were not at all pleased by the fact that the Swedish-born (and openly anti-whore) “Commissioner for Home Affairs” gave public funds to a fringe group to advance a personal agenda.
France: The French have long had a love-hate affair with filles de joie which rivals that of the United States in its depth and intensity; after the Second World War whores became the scapegoats for Gallic self-loathing and the country has been officially “abolitionist” since 1960 (except in the military, which provided its troops with whores until about 15 years ago). France is now “considering” the Swedish Model, but those who support it are in conflict with those pushing total criminalization. And since France doesn’t shy away from criminalizing clothes and opinions, why not motivations for sex as well?
Iceland: The Swedish infection is so acute in this westernmost outpost of Scandinavia that it might well prove terminal. In addition to prostitution, Iceland has also criminalized stripping and is working on banning porn; this climate has bred a large group of misandrist vigilantes who use the laws to stalk and attack men and who demand censorship powers over all print, electronic and internet communication in the country.
Ireland: Irish sex worker advocates have fought the massed forces of prohibitionists for a year now, despite interference from anti-whore behemoth Google and media-supported “sex trafficking” hysteria very similar to that in the American media; as in the US, the chief struggle for Irish prostitutes is simply to be heard (much less considered) above the Puritanical din raised by neofeminists, fanatical Christians and control-freak politicians. I’ll be keeping an eye on Turn Off the Blue Light and Feminist Ire for further developments; the matter seems poised to come to a head in the spring.
Israel: The Knesset (Israeli parliament) “Ministerial Committee on Legislation” unanimously approved a client criminalization bill on February 12th; it now passes to the full legislature for consideration. And if this recent editorial from the Jerusalem Post (which portrays all women as helpless moral imbeciles at the mercy of caricatured mustache-twirling male villains) is any indication, Israeli plague carriers are just as willing to use outrageous claims and blatant lies to promote their agenda as those in the US and Scandinavia.
Norway: The second country infected by this vile illness hasn’t completely succumbed yet; as I reported on February 5th the country’s official report to UNAIDS listed significant public health and human rights problems which it directly blamed on the ban. Of course, the opinion of one government department won’t change anything, but since Norway isn’t as politically invested in the “model” as Sweden is, it could be some small sign of hope.
United Kingdom: This patient offers the most hopeful prognosis after Canada; despite a close brush with an especially virulent case in 2010, Britain now seems to be moving in the direction of decriminalization. The Association of Chief Police officers supports it, as does the new assistant commissioner at Scotland Yard, and in December several politicians met with Tim Barnett, the British-born New Zealand MP who sponsored decriminalization there. Recent developments in Scotland could lead to problems, but it’s too soon yet to tell.
United States: The US State Department continues to pour money into “anti-trafficking” campaigns which encourage persecution and abuse of prostitutes in countries which depend on American charity (especially in the Far East), and while these campaigns aren’t directly tied to the “Swedish Model” they often feature “end demand” rhetoric which directly meshes with it. In addition, wealthy American individuals with personal agendas and corporations eager to capitalize on popular hype continue to bankroll “rescue” operations which victimize women and children and “end demand” efforts which result in the arrest and officially-sanctioned robbery of hundreds of men.
All in all, then, I think we can be guardedly optimistic about the danger of this epidemic continuing to spread. Though some countries (Ireland and the US) seem to be sinking into the disease, others (such as Canada and the UK) appear not only to have avoided the sickness, but to be headed in the healthy direction of family members like Australia and New Zealand. In most countries (such as France and Denmark) it looks like business as usual, and though two of the three full-blown cases appear to be worsening, the third has shown a few faint signs of improvement. I’ll continue to keep all the patients’ charts up to date, and let y’all know as the prognosis changes for each one.