Brå was commissioned by the Swedish government to follow up how the criminal justice system applies the prohibition on the purchase of sexual services (Chapter 6, Section 11 of the Swedish Criminal Code). The commission includes shedding light on several aspects of how the criminal justice system handles sex purchase crimes from police report to verdict and how the criminal justice system and social services cooperate. Brå's commission also encompasses analysing the possible effects of routinely giving injured party status to the seller of sexual acts. In the follow-up, we have reviewed 292 cases of reported sex purchase crimes (preliminary investigations and verdicts), interviewed several representatives of the criminal justice system and social services, conducted participant observation of police work and analysed documents, literature and crime statistics.
The prohibition on the purchase of sexual services was introduced in 1999 and currently reads:
§1. A person who, in cases other than those previously referred to in this Chapter, obtains casual sexual relations in return for payment, is guilty of purchase of sexual services and is sentenced to a fine or imprisonment for at most one year.
§2. The provision in the first paragraph also applies if the payment was promised or made by another person.
At the time of publication of this report, the Swedish government has submitted a bill proposing to increase the minimum penalty for the purchase of sexual services from a fine to imprisonment. The stricter penalty is proposed to enter into force on 1 August 2022 (government bill 2021/22:231).