Positions on Social versus Legal Measures as the Proper and Most Effective Tools in Dealing with Prostitution: a Comparative Study of Norway and Sweden


Publication date



Høgskolen i Oslo. Avdeling for samfunnsfag

Document type


Master in International Social Welfare and Health Policy


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore, and as a result, to better understand the positions of two central prostitution organisations, Pro Sentret in Norway, and Prostitutionsenheten (Prostitution Centre) in Sweden, using the method of comparative analysis. I used the following research questions: How do the legal and promotional prevention measures on prostitution in Norway and Sweden differ and what characterizes them? What is the position of central institutions on the debate on prostitution, Pro Sentret in Oslo and Prostitutionsenheten in Stockholm, on the visibility of human trafficking and the legal approach used in Sweden? I wondered, could there be a link between the positions these organisations have on prostitution, and the measures they develop to address the problem? For 25 years Pro Sentret has lobbied hard so that laws should remain unchanged, and to prevent new laws to end prostitution. They argue that they should not come at the cost of the personal freedoms of the women, and there is no proof they work, therefore only social measures should be used. In Sweden, they use both social and legal measures in combination to eliminate prostitution, as that is their primary goal. Prostitution is just another form of male violence and domination, where women are the victims who must be helped and protected, even at the expense of their individual rights and civil liberties. In the discussion both countries argue that they use measures that best protect women’s rights with the goal being equality. It is the difference in interpretation of the concept of equality that is at the heart of this longstanding ideological disagreement. There is a need for an evaluation style study to be conducted that looks more closely at the findings from this research, to determine which approach best meets the needs of women in prostitution.


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  • http://hdl.handle.net/10642/362