Thoughts from our volunteer Edith Sjöberg

To you who are reading this, hi! I have a question, have you ever seen the word “whore” written on a wall, heard someone say as a joke to a girl that she will get a gift in exchange for a kiss, seen an ad for pornography on the internet, seen advertising offering women free trips with rich men who will pay for everything, heard the phrase “bros before hoes”, heard popular songs where the artists sing about selling oneself, seen show and movies where powerful men sit with a number of prostitutes as ornaments in the background, or seen movies and shows where prostitution is portrayed as glamorous and confidence-building?


These are all small traces of prostitution in our society. And you can probably think of many more. Trafficking not only exists in our society, it breathes and feeds on it. Prostitution is not something that happens in a city far away, in some other country or on some other continent. It exists everywhere. In your neighborhood, on your street, in your social circle, right under your nose, yet still out of sight.


An estimated 700,000 sex slaves exist in Europe today, and the number is increasing. During the most recent decades, trafficking has increased signficantly, and is today the world’s third largest market for trafficking.


How can this be? Well, people today are more greedy. What fuels trafficking, of which sex trade makes up 80%, are the buyers. Studies have shown that 8% of men in Sweden and the United Kingdom have paid for sexual favors, and in Spain as many as 33% have. It is highly likely that you have spent time and socialized with someone who has purchased sex. And no, this does not show. Johns may look and act like anyone. They come from all walks of life and contribute financially to what is slavery in out time. The market traumatizes and ruins the lives of many people. And yet, the likelihood that the perpetrators will be convicted is 0.00001%.


Sexual slavery exists all over the world, yet where it occurs the most is in our beautiful Europe, a part of the world we often praise for equality and human rights. It is, therefore, important that we educate ourselves about what the reality looks like so that we can do something about it. It is after all, why we are all here. It is why you are reading this, and why I am writing this.

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