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WOMEN'S SAFETY FAIR at SFU Vancouver Campus at Harbour Centre

October 5, 2016 all day
WOMEN'S SAFETY FAIR The Vancouver Police Department and community partners will be holding the fifth annual Women's Safety Fair on October 5th, at the SFU Vancouver Campus at Harbour Centre, 515 W.Hastings Street. The fair will feature a personal safety demonstration for women only by the VPD's Women's Personal Safety Team, a women-focused transit safety presentation by Transit Police, facilitated community discussions, and information booths. Attendees are invited to stop by the many…See More
21 hours ago
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I am my own guardian

Thousands of women storm Saudi King’s office demanding basic freedomsAshitha Nagesh for Metro.co.ukTuesday 27 Sep 2016Thousands of women in Saudi Arabia have taken their fight for basic freedoms directly to the King.Around 2,500 protesters bombarded…
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Il y a 19 ans, 12 enseignantes égorgées par un groupe armé à Sidi Bel Abbès

Il y a 19 ans, 12 enseignantes égorgées par un groupe armé à Sidi Bel AbbèsSept 21 2016Les enseignantes Dich Amina, Tounsi Aziza, Boudaoud Kheïra, Bouteraâ Rachida, Mehdane Zohra, Bouhend Fatima, Fliou M’hamdia, Louhab Naïma, Lenfad Hafida, Cherrid…
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Vancouver Women's Monument, Thornton Park, defaced by geese

Geese excrement on memorial bench, August 2, 2016 (photo: Chris McDowell)Stop birds who poop on monument: Committeeby Rosemary Newton, September 22, 2016A committee wants to relocate geese from Vancouver’s Thornton Park to stop the birds from…
Sep 23
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Sarah Montague speaks to Yazidi rights activist Nadia Murad

When militants from so-called Islamic State entered Nadia's village, they killed all the men; six of her brothers were murdered. She and hundreds of other Ya...
Sep 19
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Prostitution How is the Swedish law enforced at Hycroft

September 19, 2016 from 1:30pm to 4:30pm
ProstitutionHow is the Swedish law enforcedLessons learnedPresentation with Detective Simon Haggstrom, head of the Stockholm Police prostitution Unit, SwedenWhereHycroft1489 McRae Avenue, Vancouver, BC(16th & Granville)WhenMonday, September 19, 20161:30 pm - 4:30 pmReception to followContact/Register604-872-8212email:info@rapereliefshelter.bc.ca* Space is limited. Pre-registration is required.See More
Aug 22
 

HELLO AND WELCOME

Daphne Bramham: Criminalizing sex buyers has helped Sweden fight prostitution
Daphne Bramham, Vancouver Sun, September 21, 2016

When Sweden’s Social Democratic government introduced its zero-tolerance policy for buyers of sex in 1999, it became the first country in the world to prohibit the purchase of sexual services.

It was swimming upstream domestically, as well as against the tide of its European neighbours who were legalizing prostitution.

The other seven political parties opposed it. Close to 70 per cent of Swedes opposed it. So did the police, including a young graduate from the police academy named Simon Haggstrom.

The feminist-led government viewed prostitution as violence against women and a clear sign of inequality. It rejected legalization based on its conviction that the majority of prostitutes do not choose prostitution — but are in it because of poverty, addiction, abuse, exploitation or coercion.

There were dire predictions about what would happen when purchasing sexual services became illegal, alongside offering any assistance to prostitutes, whether providing transport, renting rooms, or buying meals, clothes or even condoms for them.

But 17 years later, attitudes have changed. And that young recruit? Haggstrom personally has arrested more than 1,000 sex buyers and is now the detective inspector in charge of Stockholm’s six-person prostitution unit.

He’s become an international face of what’s known as the Swedish or Nordic model and was in Vancouver this week countering the myths about it.

Rape and domestic violence have not increased in Sweden. The concern was that men would no longer be able to take out their sexual frustrations on prostitutes.

Violence against prostitutes hasn’t risen. No prostitutes were murdered in Sweden last year; in Germany, where prostitution is legal, 70 were killed by pimps or buyers.

Enforcement hasn’t increased policing costs, even though there is a prostitution unit as well as a trafficking unit staffed by 25 detectives and a social worker.

Prostitution hasn’t been eliminated, but surveys indicate that the percentage of Swedish men who buy sex dropped to 7.4 per cent in 2014 from 13.6 per cent in 1996; only 0.8 per cent said that they had bought sexual services within the last year. (In the United States, one in five men reports buying sex. There is no available Canadian data.)

Buying sex in Sweden is now deemed so shameful that Haggstrom says the overwhelming majority of those arrested plead guilty and pay a fine rather than go to trial.

One interesting aspect of the law is that fines are based on income. If the buyer is unemployed, the minimum fine is the equivalent of about $400. For everyone else, the maximum is 50 days’ worth of income.

Human trafficking has declined, but hasn’t been eliminated. The majority of prostitutes are from Lithuania and Nigeria. Haggstrom says they usually arrive within days or months of their 18th birthday. Sweden’s age of consent for sex is 18 and penalties for trafficking or raping children are higher.

Prostitution is not hidden from police, Haggstrom insists, pointing out that in order to get buyers, sellers have to advertise. A 2015 report by the national coordinator against prostitution and trafficking found that ads for escort services had increased to 6,965 that year from 304 in 2007.

The print and online ads are how police find sex buyers. They track the ads daily, placing a priority on those with the youngest-looking women.

Acting as buyers, they set up a “date” and find out the location. Once there, they cancel the arrangement and then stake out the site, arresting the men as they leave.

These days, prostitutes frequently meet clients in apartments that owners have put up for vacation rentals or are listed on Airbnb.

There are weaknesses in the system.

The 2015 review found that one of the unintended consequences of the policy is increased support for criminalizing prostitutes, currently at 48 per cent of all Swedes; 59 per cent of women and 38 per cent of men.

The Swedish Association for Sexuality Education has suggested that the law has increased both stigma and discrimination, putting prostitutes in a more precarious position. However, the group has opposed legalization and instead has been pressing for changes to address those unintended consequences.

Haggstrom admits that another consequence is that Swedish men now are more likely to become sex tourists. Unlike Canada, Sweden does not have an extraterritorial law that allows it to prosecute Swedish offenders for sex crimes committed abroad. However, he says it’s under discussion.

The counselling program for sex buyers — even repeat offenders — is voluntary, not mandatory. Again, Haggstrom says the government is considering changing that.

Also, only Swedish citizens are eligible for government-funded programs aimed at helping them exit the sex trade. Foreigners are referred for help to non-governmental agencies.

So what’s happening in Vancouver? It’s definitely not like Sweden. But that’s for another day.

http://www.theprovince.com/News/12212388/story.html

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