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Justice Minister to seek full ban on purchasing sex

A study commissioned by the Justice Ministry indicates that legislation regarding prostitution does not sufficiently protect those involved in the sex trade.

Anna-Maja Henriksson. Image: Yle

Minister of Justice Anna-Maja Henriksson will ask the government to consider revising laws on prostitution to completely ban the purchase of sex.

A report published by her ministry on Wednesday criticises the current legislation for being too difficult to understand and not doing enough to protect victims of human trafficking and procurement.

It says that the present ban on purchasing sex from victims of human trafficking is unworkable -- as it obliges authorities to prove after the fact that the customer should have known about human trafficking or pimping. The law has been on the books since 2006.

The Public Law and Order Act, meanwhile, forbids the offering or buying of sexual services in public places. The researchers found it problematic that this ban has basically only been applied to the sale of sex.

Panel seeks change in attitudes

They argue that a total ban on buying sex would make it easier to monitor and have a much stronger impact on attitudes than the current laws. The panel also recommends completely removing bans on the sale of sex and clarifying the definition of procurement or pimping.

As she announced the results of the study on Wednesday, Henriksson reiterated her previous stance that the buying of sex should be made illegal in all circumstances. She said she plans to bring the matter before the cabinet soon.

Henriksson of the Swedish People's Party, a lawyer from the west-coast town of Jakobstad, has held the Justice portfolio for just over two years.