This fantastic Note is forthcoming in William Mitchell Law Review, Vol. 37, No. 4 (2011). It can be downloaded here. Below is the abstract:
Sex trafficking of women and children—one of the most urgent human rights violations confronting the world today—incorporates prostitution into its end product. While the world focuses on the nature of prostitution—i.e., forced (trafficked) or voluntary (sex worker)—the author’s research indicates that few women in prostitution choose that path. In 1999, Sweden became the first country in the world to partially decriminalize prostitution by criminalizing only the purchaser. The Swedish approach—known as “The Swedish Model”—offers social services to women in prostitution. The Swedish Government chronicled the results of The Swedish Model in a report released in July 2010. While sex workers’ rights groups from around the world have attacked The Swedish Model, the Swedish Government claims that it has decreased the incidence of sex trafficking and prostitution in Sweden. Norway and Iceland adopted this approach, and other countries currently consider the model. The United States’ implementation of The Swedish Model would further recent American practices to combat sexual exploitation. The United States should criminalize the purchase of sex, decriminalize the sale of sex, reform the social service system to increase help offered to prostituted individuals, and conduct outreach to facilitate intervention points for prostituted individuals and those at risk for prostitution.