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Swedish Prostitution Laws

Although there is much discussion about the recent 1999 law criminalizing the purchase of sexual services, there are additional laws which may apply to prostitutes and their businesses. The laws below make it illegal for prostitution businesses to exist at a specific location by outlawing third party management, and by criminalizing anyone who assists in the commission of a crime. This law could be used against landlords, security quards. etc. For example, through this rubric of legislation, prostitutes' housing may be threatened if the landlord is responsible to evict those using the premises for prostitution. In another example, prostitutes who organize to work together in a group business might be charged with exploiting each other's sexual labor. Laws, such as those listed below, are commonly used against prostitutes in many countries.

1999 Swedish Prostitution Law

Act on prohibiting the purchase of
sexual services

Swedish Code of Statutes
SFS 1998:408

Promulgated 4 June 1998
A person who obtains casual sexual relations in exchange for payment shall be sentenced -
unless the act is punishable under the Swedish Penal Code - for the purchase of sexual services
to a fine or imprisonment for at most six months.
Attempt to purchase sexual services is punishable under Chapter 23 of the Swedish Penal

This law enters into force on 1 January 1999.

Additional Laws That May Apply To Voluntary Contexts of Prostitution

from Swedish Penal Code (download pdf)

Chapter 6- On Sexual Crimes.
Section 8
A person who promotes or improperly financially exploits the
casual sexual relations for payment of another person shall be
sentenced for procuring to imprisonment for at most four years.
A person who, holding the right to the use of premises, grants the
right to use them to another in the knowledge that the premises are
wholly or to a substantial extent used for casual sexual relations for
payment and omits to do what can reasonably be expected to
terminate the granted right, he or she shall, if the activity continues
or is resumed at the premises, be considered to have promoted the
activity and shall be sentenced in accordance with the first,
paragraph. (Law 1998:393)

Section 9
If the crime provided for in Section 8 is gross, imprisonment for at
least two and at most six years shall be imposed for gross
procuring. In assessing whether the crime is gross, special consideration
shall be given to whether the accused promoted casual sexual
relations for payment on a large scale or ruthlessly exploited
another. (Law 1984:399)


Chapter 16-On Crimes against Public Order
Section 16
A person who is noisy in a public place or who otherwise publicly
behaves in a manner apt to arouse public indignation, shall be
sentenced for disorderly conduct to pay a fixed fine. (Law

Chapter 23 - On Attempt, Preparation, Conspiracy and

Section 2
A person who, with the intention of committing or promoting a
crime, presents or receives money or anything else as pre-payment
or payment for the crime or who procures, constructs, gives,
receives, keeps, conveys or engages in any other similar activity
with poison, explosive, weapon, picklock, falsification tool or other
such means, shall, in cases where specific provisions exist for the
purpose, be sentenced for preparation of crime unless he is guilty of
a completed crime or attempt.
In specially designated cases a sentence shall also be imposed
for conspiracy. By conspiracy is meant that someone decides on the
act in collusion with another as well as that someone undertakes or
offers to execute it or seeks to incite another to do so.
Punishment imposed for preparation or conspiracy shall be less
than the highest and may be less than the lowest limit applicable to
the completed crime. No greater punishment than imprisonment for
two years may be imposed unless imprisonment for eight or more
years can follow for the completed crime. Punishment shall not be
imposed if the danger of the crime being completed was slight.

Section 4
Punishment as provided for an act in this Code shall be imposed not
only on the person who committed the act but also on anyone who
furthered it by advice or deed. The same shall also apply to any
other act punishable with imprisonment under another Law or
statutory instrument.
A person who is not regarded as the perpetrator shall, if he
induced another to commit the act, be sentenced for instigation of
the crime and otherwise for aiding the crime.
Each accomplice shall be judged according to the intent or the
negligence attributable to him. Punishments defined in law for the
act of a manager, debtor or other person in a special position shall
also be imposed on anyone who was an accomplice to the act of
such person.
The provisions of this paragraph do not apply if the law
provides otherwise in special cases. (Law 1994:458)

Section 6
A person who omits to report in time or otherwise to reveal a crime
that is in process of being committed when this could have been
done without danger to himself or to anyone in a close relationship
to him, shall, in those cases where this has been covered by special
provisions, be sentenced for failure to reveal the crime as is
provided for a person who has been an accomplice to the crime to a
minor extent only; however, in no case may a more severe
punishment than imprisonment for two years be imposed. In cases
subject to special provisions, the punishment for failure to reveal a
crime in accordance with the present provision shall also be
imposed on a person who did not realise that a crime was being
committed but should have done so.

Section 7
Punishments provided in this Code for cases where someone
procures a gain or appropriates something personally by crime shall
be likewise imposed when someone intentionally procures a gain for
or appropriates something for another person.

Chapter 26- On Imprisonment

Section 1
Separate provisions govern the use of imprisonment as a
conversion punishment for the non-payment of fines. (Law

Chapter 36- On Forfeiture of Property, Corporate Fines and
Other Special Legal Effects of Crime

Section 1
The proceeds of a crime as defined in this Code shall be declared
forfeited unless this is manifestly unreasonable. The same shall
apply to anything a person has received as payment for costs
incurred in conjunction with a crime, provided that such receipt
constitutes a crime under this Code. The value of the article
received may be declared forfeited instead of the article itself.
In determining whether it would be manifestly unreasonable to
declare the proceeds of a crime forfeited under the provisions of the
first paragraph, consideration shall be given inter alia, to whether
there is reason to believe that liability to pay damages in
consequence of the crime will be imposed or otherwise discharged.
(Law 1986:1007)

Section 2
Property which has been used as an auxiliary means in the
commission of a crime under this Code or which is the product of
such a crime may be declared forfeited if this is called for in order
to prevent crime or for other special reasons. This also applies to
property the use of which constitutes a crime under this Code or
which is otherwise used in a manner which constitutes such a crime.
The value of property may be declared forfeited instead of the
property itself. (Law 1968:165)

Section 5
Forfeiture of property or its worth in consequence of crime may, if
no provision is otherwise made, be exacted of:
a) the offender or an accomplice in the crime,
b) the person whose position was occupied by the offender or an
c) the person who profited from the crime or the entrepreneur
described in Section 4,

Section 4
If, as a result of a crime committed in the course of business, the
entrepreneur has derived financial advantages, the value thereof
shall be declared forfeited, even if this is not so provided for in
Section 1 or 2 or otherwise specially provided for.


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