THINK Series DEBATE: The Nordic Model: Feminist or Oppressive?
In 1999, Sweden became the first country to adopt what has since been called the Nordic model, making it illegal to purchase sex while decriminalising the sellers. The Nordic model has since been adopted by Norway, Iceland, Northern Ireland, Canada, France, Ireland, and most recently, Israel. It is still a controversial law, however, with critics saying it drives prostitution underground, harming sex workers by making their jobs more dangerous. In favour of the model, proponents point to reduced demand and a reduction in trafficking and grooming. Norway introduced the Nordic model in 2009, and the question of whether the UK should follow suit is very much alive. In this THINK debate, we'll hear from two Norwegians with different views on both the effects and merits of the law.
Our first panelist is Ida Kock, who is Senior Executive Officer at Pro Sentret . Pro Sentret is Norway’s national center of expertise on prostitution-related issues as well as Oslo Municipality’s health and social service provider for people who sell sexual services. Pro Sentret works closely with sex workers in Norway and has been active in the debate on the Nordic model for decades. Ida’s areas of expertise include online sex work and persons from Bulgaria and Romania (particularly Roma peoples) who migrate to sell sex, and she has written several reports on these subjects. She also co-authored Pro Sentret’s 2020 report The exclusion of persons who sell sexual services in the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic: Experiences from the field in Norway, Finland, Sweden and Denmark.
Our second panelist is Agnete Strøm, a founding member of Kvinnefronten (the Women’s Front), one of Norway’s oldest feminist organisations. Before retiring, Agnete worked for 32 years with outreach work in Bergen related to women and adolescents in the sex trade. She has monitored several anti-trafficking projects in collaboration with CATW (the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women) in Latin-America, South East Asia and South Africa, and works with Plataforma Portuguesa para os Direitos das Mulheres on promoting the Nordic Model in Portugal. She is a board member of the Dignity journal and SPACE International, an NGO for survivors of prostitution, and has introduced the Nordic model at various conferences in Europe, Asia and the Americas.
Join the debate via our zoom webinar, don't forget to register in advance.
The THINK series is a cornerstone of the Essex Education. Engaging with the critical issues of the day is one of the things that makes Essex students unique. At Essex we encourage critical, innovative and forward thinking. Our award-winning THINK series is rebellious and revolutionary. We engage with controversial issues that cross disciplines and discuss the issues and moral dilemmas that really matter.
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