I think every society has issues that have an urgent need to be addressed, and I guess prostitution is among one of them. I do agree with Simon when he says that '' We can not ignore the situation any longer''however to have a debate about this, it should include all parts involved, and most important it should included the criminalized ones, the sex buyers and sellers.
I like the fact that there is someone, someone that is often portrayed as the 'hero/savior' to speak out about his views on prostitution, and also about his experience as a subordinated of the law and to his ''conscience''. When I read this article I had to do it with extreme skepticism because besides promoting the worst stories experienced in the course 9 years working with prostitution, we can not forget nor ignore that Simon is still a MAN, not entitled to have an individual opinion that goes beyond what the law says.
I had the chance to meet Simon in a coffee shop in Stockholm, as an escort, and as one that at that point had so far no bad experiences, I needed to have the perspective of the other side, I was hoping that he could show me how bad this is for me. It was very enriching to see prostitution through someone else's eyes. Even though he had a lot of facts and true stories that could give me reasons to stop being an escort, none of them FIT ME IN - I was never trafficked, traded, sold, I was never forced to have sex with anyone, I did not come from Africa nor Eastern Europe, I speak very good english, and I live by myself. As a 100% independent escort, I could not relate and I am sure many independent escorts will not fit in the square in the same way macho culture would be for swedish men an utopian achievement.
Do not get me wrong, Simon has very good intentions and when an escort needs help or is in trouble he, as representative of the law, he will help you as a victim. For me PROSTITUTION goes beyond putting sex buyers behind bars and returning a girl back to her country or to the streets, the cycle is persistent and continuous, more girls coming, more guys buying, time passes and the debate only includes ONE side of the story.
I had a similar experience with KST, but much worse, I could not even make a connection, because when you meet judgemental swedish women that has an understanding of prostitution by reading Simon's books and statistics it is just a recipe for a disastrous outcome. If I was someone seeking help, I would have quit right there. I am sure they manage to help some, but when you are contacting over 500 girls and you manage to convince 30 to pay a visit in a window of 6 months it is quite clear that it is not just law making and/ or the sex buyers fault.
We need to admit that everybody, every element has a parcel of responsibility in the perpetuation of 'prostitution'. There are many organizations out there, few that can really provide help or are interested in ''debate''. I tried to reach for example 'Real Stars', an organization that combat prostitution, but I have never got AN ANSWER. Not even a NO, out of respect. The institutions often fails to help women, because they are REALLY unprepared and unqualified to help them, I do not want to explicitly call some of them prejudicial, even though they truly are.
I am no researcher, nor a journalist, I do not know for a fact if it is the lack of inclusion, or exclusiveness of equality for swedish women, whatever that is, I think the excluded is silently screaming in the statistics, and that is indeed the only fact presented about a side of prostitution besides a biased police man's ''opinion'' however, if we are really passed or ready to debate we need to start including everyone in every level.
P.S. By the way, to all the police officers after sex buyers, do not exclude the powerful rich men protected by the walls of the Grand Hotel, after all you do not only find them in the back parking lot.
“Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society's definition of acceptable women; those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of difference - those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are black, who are older - know that survival is not an academic skill...For the master's tools will not dismantle the master's house. They will never allow us to bring about genuine change.”
― Audre Lorde