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The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                    

Kingdom of Sweden

Aided by peace and neutrality for the whole of the 20th century, Sweden has achieved an enviable standard of living under a mixed system of high-tech capitalism and extensive welfare benefits. It has a modern distribution system, excellent internal and external communications, and a skilled labor force.

Despite strong finances and underlying fundamentals, the Swedish economy slid into recession in the third quarter of 2008 and growth continued downward in the fourth as deteriorating global conditions reduced export demand and consumption. On 3 February 2009, the Swedish Government announced a $6 billon rescue package for the banking sector.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Sweden

CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Sweden.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated, misleading or even false.   No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of child prostitution are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring how children got started, how they survive, and how some succeed in leaving.  Perhaps your paper could focus on runaways and the abuse that led to their leaving.  Other factors of interest might be poverty, rejection, drug dependence, coercion, violence, addiction, hunger, neglect, etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the manipulative and dangerous adults who control this activity.  There is a lot to the subject of Child Prostitution.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.


Sweden's Prostitution Solution: Why Hasn't Anyone Tried This Before?

Marie De Santis, Women's Justice Center

[accessed 26 July 2011]

In a centuries deep sea of clichés despairing that 'prostitution will always be with us', one country's success stands out as a solitary beacon lighting the way. In just five years Sweden has dramatically reduced the number of its women in prostitution.  In 1999, after years of research and study, Sweden passed legislation that a) criminalizes the buying of sex, and b) decriminalizes the selling of sex. Prostitution is regarded as an aspect of male violence against women and children.

*** ARCHIVES ***

ECPAT Country Monitoring Report [PDF]

Lisa Pouille, ECPAT International, 2011

[accessed 8 September 2020]

Desk review of existing information on the sexual exploitation of children (SEC) in Sweden. The report looks at protection mechanisms, responses, preventive measures, child and youth participation in fighting SEC, and makes recommendations for action against SEC.

Human Rights Reports » 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 10, 2020

[accessed 8 September 2020]

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN - The law criminalizes “contact with children under 15 for sexual purposes,” including internet contact intended to lead to sexual assault. Penalties range from fines to one year in prison. The law prohibits the sale of children; penalties range from two to 10 years in prison. It also bans child pornography with penalties ranging from fines to six years in prison. Authorities enforced the law. The minimum age for consensual sex is 15.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 28 January 2005

[accessed 27 December 2010]

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION AND TRAFFICKING - The Committee notes with appreciation that, following the First World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, held in Stockholm in 1996, a National Plan of Action was adopted to protect children against sexual abuse and ill-treatment, which was brought up to date in 2001 for the Second World Congress, held in Yokohama, Japan. It also welcomes the proposed revisions to the Criminal Code regarding sexual offences, which, if adopted, will improve the protection of children against sexual exploitation. However, the Committee is concerned at:

(a) the occurrence of trafficking in children, prostitution and related issues in Sweden and abroad committed by Swedish citizens;  (b) reports of cases of sexually abused children as a result of contacts via the Internet;  (c) the little protection provided by Swedish legislation, due in part to the subjective and incomplete definition of the child under the Penal Code concerning child pornography.

Five Years After Stockholm [PDF]

ECPAT: Fifth Report on implementation of the Agenda for Action

ECPAT International, November 2001

[accessed 13 September 2011]

[B] COUNTRY UPDATES – SWEDEN – In terms of protection, the government has commissioned a Parliamentary Committee to review existing legislation on sexual crimes. The area where most progress has been made is cooperation and coordination.  The Swedish government has been actively working on regional projects such as the Child Centre for Children at Risk in the Baltic Sea Region, which is an information technology cooperation project concerning child abuse and children at risk of CSEC.

Report by Special Rapporteur [DOC]

UN Economic and Social Council Commission on Human Rights, Fifty-ninth session, 6 January 2003$FILE/G0310090.doc

[accessed 26 July 2011]

[68] Concerning trafficking, new legislation came into force on 1 July 2002, which criminalizes those involved in trafficking.  It is illegal to purchase sexual services from anyone (regardless of age or sex), but if the victim is between 15 and 18, a sentence for sexual molestation is imposed on the client or person who induces the child to participate in such an act, or if the act is an element in the production of pornographic pictures.  One recent case was reported concerning the procurement of a child for prostitution, and another in which a 62-year-old man was convicted of buying sexual favors from girls between 14 and 15 years of age, and of sexual exploitation of his foster daughter.  He was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.

Prostitution in Sweden 2003 - Knowledge, Beliefs & Attitudes of Key Informants [PDF]

The National Board of Health and Welfare, October 2004 -- Article #2004-131-28

[accessed 26 July 2011]


·         Entering into prostitution by chance

·         Paths to substance abuse and prostitution

·         Payment in kind

·         Drifting into prostitution

·         Trafficking

The Working Group on Sexual Exploitation of Children in Sweden

Linda Lindenau, 28.01.2003

[accessed 26 July 2011]

Although several measures were taken last year and the issue of commercial sexual exploitation received much attention in Sweden, knowledge regarding the extent of the problem and how to protect the children affected is still insufficient.

One in 12 children forced into world's 'worst forms' of labor: UNICEF UK

Agence France-Presse AFP, 21 February 2005

[accessed 20 April 2012]

UNICEF UK said that 350 million children aged five to 17 worked, and that 180 million of them were "involved in the worst forms of child labour -- hazardous work, slavery, forced labor, in armed forces, commercial sexual exploitation and illicit activities".

UNICEF UK lauded the pledge of developed countries, made more than 30 years ago, of allocating 0.7 percent of gross domestic product to development aid but regretted that only five countries today fulfill that promise -- Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Sweden.

Sexual exploitation of children in Sweden

Ingrid Åkerman, 16.08.2004

[accessed 26 July 2011]

Final report from the Committee on knowledge about sexual exploited children in Sweden. Sexual exploitation of children comprises trafficking in children, child prostitution/sexual exploitation for payment and child pornography. The report contains a description of these three problem areas, relevant legislation is reported and risk factors identified. Investigations, measures and treatment for both victims and perpetrators are reviewed as well as joint action at both national and international levels.




ECPAT Global Monitoring Report on the status of action against commercial exploitation of children - SWEDEN [PDF]

ECPAT International, 2006

[accessed 26 July 2011]

Sweden is seldom viewed as a country where children are victimised through commercial sexual exploitation, but a number of studies have indicated that both girls and boys are exploited through prostitution, pornography and trafficking for sexual purposes. Child sex tourism as practiced by Swedish nationals in foreign destinations, is also particularly problematic.

Young women are rarely seen in street prostitution, and the most common means of making contact with young girls is via the Internet, through ‘neutral’ chatrooms where men offer them money for sex, rather than through sex-oriented websites. A survey on the sexual exploitation of children in the country, conducted in 2003 by the National Council for Crime Prevention, included several cases of male abusers contacting minor girls via the Internet and telephone, reaching an agreement on sexual relations in exchange for compensation in the form of money, alcohol or other goods. Many young girls in such situations fail to perceive themselves as being ‘exploited’, and often do not regard the exchange of sex for money or material goods as prostitution. Girls are also lured into prostitution under the pretence of a romantic relationship, some of them being first sexually exploited by their boyfriends, who then ‘sell’ the girls to their friends. The survey also indicated that although girls make up 70 per cent of victims of all forms of commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) in general, boys constitute the majority when it comes to prostitution. According to the Committee on Knowledge about the Sexual Exploitation of Children in Sweden, most of the boys victimised through prostitution are of foreign origin - first and second generation immigrants, according to another study conducted by Carl Göran Svedins. The average age at which both girls and boys become involved in prostitution is 16. Common features of child victims of prostitution include drug or alcohol dependence, mental illness and the occurrence of sexual/physical abuse or neglect earlier in their lives, according to a poll undertaken by the Committee.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 11 February 2020]

WOMEN - Prostitution is legal; however, the purchase of sexual services is illegal. Prostitutes were not arrested but their clients were. The government has sought to curb prostitution by focusing on the demand rather than the supply side. Both government and nongovernmental sources asserted that the law has proven effective in limiting prostitution and trafficking in persons.


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