Prostitution Policy in the Nordic Region : Ambiguous Sympathies book cover
1st Edition

Prostitution Policy in the Nordic Region
Ambiguous Sympathies

ISBN 9781138269842
Published October 19, 2016 by Routledge
184 Pages

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Book Description

There is great interest internationally in the development of prostitution policies in the Nordic countries after Sweden, Norway and Iceland have introduced general bans against buying sex whilst selling sex remains legal. In addition, there is a partial ban against buying sex in Finland. This is a different approach from that of several other European countries, where we have seen a decriminalisation of third-party involvement in prostitution as well as to that of the USA which criminalises both the buying and selling of sexual services. Thus the Nordic countries are often treated as representatives of a 'Nordic model' of prostitution policies. In this book - the first on the subject - Skilbrei and Holmström argue that these models of policies or policy regimes tend to ignore the trajectories, contexts and consequences of the full range of approaches to prostitution, thus they are too simplistic and static. Prostitution policies in the Nordic countries are multifaceted and dynamic, and cannot be represented as following a straight path and detached from empirical contexts. Their analysis treats Nordic prostitution policies both as a product of history, of current national and Nordic debates, and of international obligations and changes in the international and national prostitution markets. Furthermore they argue that a broad understanding of the relevant context is necessary so as to place Nordic prostitution policies within broader policy concerns related to gender, class, ethnicity, sexuality, social welfare, immigration and organised crime, as well as to neoliberal forms of governance.



May-Len Skilbrei, Fafo Institute for Applied International Studies, Norway and Charlotta Holmström, Malmö University, Sweden.


’A major contribution to the research literature on prostitution in Nordic countries. The book insightfully highlights similarities and differences across the five countries in their sex markets and in recent prostitution policies, and identifies the key social forces responsible for shaping both public perceptions and state policies regarding prostitution. A groundbreaking, comprehensive analysis of Nordic debates on sex work using a unique, multi-national perspective.’ Ronald Weitzer, George Washington University, USA ’This book offers a much welcome critical and nuanced account of the Nordic model of prostitution regulation which challenges simplistic understandings and homogeneous approaches to the issue and its treatment across these similar yet distinctive jurisdictions. Empirically rich and analytically complex, this is a must-read for academics, policy makers and indeed anyone who seeks a deeper understanding of this fascinating area.’ Jane Scoular, University of Strathclyde, UK ’Skilbrei and Holmstrom are excellent at raising thoughtful questions... is targeted at the academics and researchers involved in the debates surrounding prostitution policy, and it is highly recommended to those who work in this area.’ LSE Review of Books 'This is an important book because it cuts through much of the contemporary rhetoric to provide (the first) comprehensive description of the last four decades of prostitution and prostitution policy development in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark. ... Prostitution Policy in the Nordic Region is an important book that dispels many of the myths and assumptions made in this country about the benefits of criminalizing the purchase of sex: the biggest being that criminalizing the purchase of sex produces anything other than tighter controls on sex working women. ... this book is a must read for anyone (student, academic, policy-maker) with a serious interest in prostitution policy reform.' Theoretical Criminolog