I’ve been thinking a little about the Swedish model (and no that’s not some leggy blonde, it’s the legal model that criminalises clients of sex workers). Advocates of this approach claim it will keep me safe and reduce social problems around sex and sexuality they feel the sex industry is related to. Indeed in 2012 a call for written submissions from organisations and the general public on potential reforms to the Tasmanian Sex Industry Offences Act 2005 garnered over 100 responses with the majority supporting that my clients be criminalised for seeking my services.
To me it seems like a very simplistic approach to the wrong end of the problem so let’s do a little simplistic thought experiment. Instead of being a sex worker let’s say instead that I sell coffee. And let’s say a new law is bought in that allows me to continue to sell coffee but it is illegal for people to buy it from me. Now, coffee making is my business and it is this business that I enjoy and more importantly pays my mortgage and my bills. I am very good at making coffee in many styles and have continued to improve my coffee making skills. My customers are my business, without people buying my coffee I have no business and I would prefer to not to have to find new employment or start another business in another field. So the obvious solution is for me to protect my clients, if they are criminalised for buying my coffee then I will need to find a way for them to discretely buy my coffee without getting caught. I will have to avoid police, I will have to move around, I will have to remove all links between me, my coffee shop and my coffee business so clients cannot be traced and friends and family members are not mistakenly targeted. I will no longer tell any support services I currently make use of (business advisors, other coffee sellers, coffee security providers, coffee health advisors and providers of safe coffee supplies etc) that I am continuing to sell coffee under the new law. I will have to implement a system that allows clients to contact me while not enabling them to be identified. Even just writing this I am feeling uncomfortable and vulnerable. If I ever had an issue with a client or needed help I cannot see how I would deal with this without risking my business. Any suggestions?
This is a UK based debate but it features a proponent and opponent of the client criminalisation model and gives a snapshot of their thinking http://bcove.me/m0ninx2i (Note the UK legislation is similar to the current laws in Tasmania)