Interview with Spanish newspaper El País

Gunilla Ekberg, Chairperson of the Institute for Feminism and Human Rights, was interviewed by Spanish newspaper El País. “You cannot defend gender equality and at the same time allow men to buy women in prostitution”. The whole article is available on the website of El País: here.


Disrupt Demand seminar: ‘Collaboration between law enforcement and NGO’s to prevent and discourage demand: practical aspects’


The Institute for Feminism and Human Rights and the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings hosted a one-day working seminar focusing on prostitution and trafficking in human beings in Stockholm on Monday 5 March.

The aim of the seminar was to allow the participants to discuss good practices in NGO and law enforcement collaboration to progress and implement legislative reforms in the context of demand reduction.

Representatives of law enforcement and NGO’s from Ireland and Sweden presented case studies documenting good practice in police and prosecution services collaboration with front line service providers on human trafficking investigations. The case studies promoted mutual learning and exchange between two countries that have and are building experience in a legal context where the demand for sexual services is criminalized. 

Representatives of Swedish NGO’s and frontline service providers for victims of prostitution and trafficking in human beings for sexual purposes were present to share their experiences. This included representatives from the Swedish Salvation Army and Talita. Representatives of NGO’s active in advocacy for legislative change from France, Finland, Cyprus, Ireland and Lithuania also participated in the seminar.

About the Disrupt Demand project
The Disrupt Demand project, which is funded by the European Commission, was initiated by six NGOs from across Europe seeking to identify and promote best practices to prevent and combat human trafficking for sexual exploitation. The NGO group includes research organizations and frontline service providers, who assist victims of human trafficking.

Disrupt Demand is designed to supportefforts to prevent human trafficking for sexual exploitation by reducing demand. To achieve this aim, we apply a combination of legal strategy research, and fostering cooperation among key stakeholders. 

Disrupt Demand recognizes the harm inherent to the international trade in human beings for the purpose of prostitution, fueled by the demand for sexual services. By reducing demand, we can prevent women, girls, boys and men from entering into the prostitution trade.

Project Partners
Immigrant Council of Ireland, IRELAND
Institute for Feminism and Human Rights, SWEDEN
Klaipeda Social and Psychological Services Center, LITHUANIA
Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies, CYPRUS
Mouvement du Nid, FRANCE
Exit – pois prostituutiosta ry / Prostitution Association, FINLAND

Good News from Scotland!

We are absolutely delighted that the Scottish National Party Conference today passed a resolution that” supports the development of a Scottish model of legislation that (1) decriminalises the sale of sex, (2) criminalises the purchase of sex and (3) offers appropriate support for those wishing to exit commercial sexual exploitation.”

Recent article in Le Monde Diplomatique: “On the Streets or in a House?”


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The article, “On the Streets or in a House? Sweden criminalised the purchase of sex; Germany preferred to legalise brothels,” in which our chairperson, Gunilla S. Ekberg is quoted, was published in French in Le Monde Diplomatique in December 2016, and on 12 January 2017 in English.

The PDF is available here.

Dutch newspaper: “The Swedish Prostitution Model Conquers the World’



On 3 September 2016, a Dutch newspaper published a long-read article about the Swedish approach to prostitution and trafficking in human beings for sexual purposes, with a focus on the demand, and with references to other countries that have followed suit: “Swedish Prostitution Model Conquers the World”. The chairperson of IFHR, Gunilla S. Ekberg, was interviewed for the article.

The author of the article states that: “Buying sexual services becomes increasingly difficult. In Sweden the buyer is punished. This is an approach that is followed by many countries,” and goes on to criticize the approach taken in the Netherlands: “Administratively, the idea of voluntary prostitution has always been surrounded with doubt. Soliciting is addressed, but the underground sex business has never disappeared.” The article can be accessed online here. A PDF is available here

Institute for Feminism & Human Rights deplores Amnesty International’s decision on prostitution

PRESS RELEASE – It is with great concern, we receive the news that Amnesty International today has voted to adopt a policy, which supports the violations committed by the prostitution industry, and which strikes at the heart of the human rights of women and girls. We reconfirm our commitment to continue the struggle against prostitution of women and girls, and against those – pimps, prostitution buyers and traffickers –  who hold up and profit from this form of sexualised violence and oppression directed against women and girls.

Northern Ireland Human Trafficking and Exploitation Act entered into force

On June 1, 2015, the Northern Ireland  Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Further Provisions and Support for Victims) Act came into force, which means that those, who purchase a sexual service, now are committing a crime (s. 15) and can be arrested. It also means that the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety must prepare and publish a strategy for the provision of assistance and support services for those who wish to leave prostitution (s. 19).

We want to thank everyone who has worked so tirelessly to make this happen, including our chairperson, Gunilla Ekberg, who has acted as an expert and testified to the Northern Ireland Justice Committee for the benefit of the law during the past three years.

The legislation can be found via this link:

Virtual Roundtable on Sexual Exploitation

On 20 May 2015, the Forum on Women at the Carter Center, organized a virtual roundtable entitled “Ending Sexual Exploitation in Prostitution and Pornography: Next Steps.” The virtual roundtable was a follow-up to the Summit on Ending Sexual Exploitation, which took place in Atlanta, Georgia in the USA, on May 11 and 12, 2015.

Hosted by Karin Ryan, Senior Human Rights Advisor to President Carter, speakers Dr. Kathleen Barry, Gunilla Ekberg, Human Rights Lawyer, and Dr. Gail Dines discussed initiatives to end sexual exploitation of women through prostitution and pornography.

The roundtable discussion is available via the following link. Gunilla Ekberg’s contribution starts at 30:30 minutes.