What do Swedish Students Think About the Sale of Sexual Services?

  • Ebba Carlson Lund University


The Swedish Sex Purchase Act came into force on 1 of January 1999, making Sweden the first country in Europe, maybe even in the world, to criminalize the purchase, but not the sale of sexual services. Since then, the “Swedish model” has become famous around the world. Some countries, for instance France and Norway, have followed suit. Other countries have decided to take a more liberal stand, through decriminalization or legalization, notably Germany and New Zealand. In Sweden several surveys have been conducted to examine the public’s attitude to the sale of sexual services. But what does the sub-set ‘students’ think about the sale of sexual services? Are the attitudes of students in line with the rest of the population? What do they think of the sex purchase law, decriminalization, stigmatization, the free choice of individuals and seeing sexual services as salaried employment? And do attitudes differ if the seller of sexual services is a man or a woman? This study has two aims: (1) to increase the knowledge about the attitudes of students towards the sale of sexual services, (2) to test the hypothesis that the societal context of Swedish students, i.e. the Swedish sex purchase law, exerts a stronger influence on their attitudes than the global trend of more liberal attitudes towards the sale of sexual services.