Is the Nordic Model the Right Answer for Prostitution?

An interesting article was recently published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, where the writer mentioned Dorothee Bär and her mission to introduce the Nordic model for prostitution in Germany, which she referred to as the “Brothel of Europe.”

According to Bär, legalizing the offering of sexual services in the country was not a good idea because it harms the girls. She is working to introduce the prostitution model of Sweden, where customers are punishable for paying for sex, and not the sex workers for providing it.

The Pros and Cons of the Nordic Model

Human rights activists and feminist organizations often cite the Nordic model because it might lower the demand for sexual services, thereby potentially saving many girls from this life. The reduction in demand also provides fewer opportunities for human trafficking groups, which force many women into prostitution.

As we can read in FAZ, different countries have had periods where prostitution was illegal or is still illegal, including the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, and the aforementioned Sweden. Various surveys were conducted to assess the consequences, and in most cases, the demand for paid sex did not decrease, or if it did, it soon returned to previous levels.

There were also areas where the number of rape cases or incidents of violence in homes increased.

It has also been observed that the composition of people seeking paid sex changed, with more aggressive clients appearing who often consumed alcoholic beverages as well. Because of these facts, many sex worker associations also reject the idea.

Is it Really Better for Girls?

Over the years, we have reported many cases on Sex Vienna where international groups were involved in human trafficking and forced prostitution:

The German police often conduct raids to apprehend these groups and free the girls. We have also written extensively about motorcycle gangs, especially the Hells Angels, which are highly involved in illegal activities:

However, the situation is much better in Austria, where the market is strictly regulated, and human trafficking groups have fewer opportunities. Also, motorcycle gangs do not have a significant presence in the country. In Austria, the biggest problem is due to illegal sex workers who work in apartments, and customers can’t be sure that sex is safe with them.

By introducing the Nordic model, clients with normal behavior will quickly disappear, leaving only those who are more aggressive and unafraid of punishment. This can create a more aggressive and unsafe working environment for the girls.

Prohibiting something also means that organized crime groups get a new chance to control and profit from it, as happened during the alcohol prohibition era in the USA in the 1920s.

Currently, sex workers in legal brothels must undergo medical examinations and tests every 6 weeks in Austria, and authorities strictly monitor the places. State control is also strong in other DACH countries, Germany, and Switzerland as well. If any of these countries were to introduce the Swedish model, paid sex would become less safe, and crime would increase, affecting all members of this industry negatively.

We should also not forget about the girls, as most of them work in this industry due to a lack of other opportunities to earn money. They leave their home country in search of a better life in one of the DACH countries. By introducing the Nordic model, many of them will lose their income, and many of them also support their family members in their home country. The remaining girls who stay in the industry will face a less safe environment with more money for criminal groups to fight over, and they may be at risk of threats and violence.

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