On October 18th, Realstars and two EU Parliamentarians published a debate article on SvD’s debate page “Brännpunkt” titled ”Europa bör ta efter svenska sexköpslagen” (“Europe should copy the Swedish Sex Trade Law”). RealStars has a new debate article on Aftonbladet’s debate page – Introduce the Swedish Sex Trade Law in EU – with the purpose of getting more people to act and create awareness of trafficking and its connection with prostitution.
For a few years now, it has been possible to comment on articles in Swedish media. The majority of the comments are sexist and racist. Among the ones who comment are friends and advocates of prostitution and buying sex.
Debate articles aren’t always open for comment anymore but the article from RealStars was and it was quickly filled with comments primarily made by men who demonized the ideas put in the debate. They claimed that it is moralistic to prohibit sex purchasing, that it is “the oldest profession in the world” and that the “government shouldn’t interfere with voluntary agreements”.
No one seemed to want to accept the main subject, i.e. the demand for prostitution creates a foundation for trafficking. Quite the opposite was stubbornly claimed that trafficking and voluntary prostitution are two different things but as usual, no one explains the difference. Or why sex slaves even exist at all.
Examples of some of the comments:
Trafficking is already prohibited in all of EU. The Sex Trade Law is actually about mutual transactions between two adults. Luckily, Europe has a sexually liberal tradition and won’t introduce morality laws.
I seriously believe there are girls who’d rather sell sex than for example have low-paid jobs like cleaning or working at the checkout at grocery stores. Viewing all prostitutes as victims is idiotic. It’s a whole other thing if someone was forced from eastern Europe, it will be easier to spot if it is legalized.
The Sex Trade Law is an ineffectual and even harmful law which was introduced in the worst feminist frenzy.
The comments stopped at about 250 (SvD now has a limit of three comments from the same signature). Most of them were positive towards prostitution
Where do they all come from? Many of the signatures below the article, were new and seemed to pop up only on this article. A large number of these were probably from a sex buying forum on the Internet. One of these is Flashback.
Flashback is the biggest forum in Sweden, dominated by male users who have stated racist and sexist opinions. There are also some threads where sex buyers meet to rate the prostitutes they buy and where they give each other tips on where to find “whores”.
As soon as RealStars’ article was published on SvD’s site, things heated up at Flashback’s sex buyer’s forum.
One of the most active johns started a new thread where he wrote the following:
Preceding the EU’s anti trafficking day, Socialist lady Anna Hedh and some other people write an article in. Malin Roux, who appallingly wants to make trafficking a business concept is also part of the article, together with Christian moralist Cecilia Wikström. Hedh and Wikström maniacally campaigned for a sex trade law in EU for over a decade and have been ridiculed on several occasions.
The topic becomes a challenge: find the lies and factual errors in the article and don’t let them stay unopposed!
Undoubtedly this had an effect, because just like stated above, comments from prostitution advocates grew very quickly after the request was made.
Satisfied with their own activity, they commented on Flashback:
It is interesting to see the solid resistance against the Swedish Sex Trade in the comments. It’s strange that the law is even still active and it is evident how far apart the people and the politicians are on this issue when you read the comments.
Thus, the sex buyers hijacked the comments section completely. And it’s not the first time they organize a commenting group because of an article dealing with prostitution.
It is difficult to say how great influence it has but it’s not to be underestimated. They scare off other people who would have wanted to comment as they are aggressive and have strength in numbers. Those who read the comments with curiosity are many more than the ones who comment and if you don’t understand how it works, people might start thinking it’s the general opinion. Perhaps it even makes more people consider these opinions as normal and therefore cause harm.
The Internet is a seedbed for sex buyers in USA, Australia and Europe including Sweden. Taking refuge in anonymity, they can unleash all kinds of provocations and normalize their actions. There is plenty of activity and the online presence is constant. These men have a strong need for others to see them as legitimate and acknowledged, thereby unburdening their guilt and shame over what they are doing. They need to prove that they are normal and other people, who don’t buy sex are the deviants.
They refuse to see that men are actually the cause of the increase annually in human trading with women and girls. It’s easy to be shocked by their approach when commenting and their belief that they convey the opinion of the public. But it’s not; it’s simply a well organized group who wants prostitution to become legal.
The problem is that people are not as aware as one might think.
It’s not good when media becomes a way to make sex buyers feel stronger in their opinions, as they have no one arguing for the other side nor when others, mostly young men get the wrong impressions and starts seeing prostitution as something natural.
What’s your opinion on this? Perhaps it is better to debate where these kinds of opinions aren’t allowed to roam freely, or maybe asking the media to keep the comment section closed when there is an article about trafficking/prostitution?