Where discourses framing the sex purchase
law have determined an opposition to harm reduction, social constructions of sex workers have additionally come to impact sex workers’ experiences of service providers. The Stockholm Prostitution Unit appears to be a high threshold organisation, catering only for people for whom sex work is problematic, or who want to cease sex work. Those who have not experienced difficulties or do not wish to stop selling sex are not seen as areas of concern, not deserving the ‘energy’ of targeted, state-sponsored attention:
“we are not here for people who feel good. we’re here for the people who… experience problems with (prostitution)”.
IntervIew, 2009, SoCIAL worker, StoCkhoLm ProStItutIon unIt
“as far as they feel well, and like to be in this situation, fine with me, I mean, the day when they don’t like it anymore, they can
come to me. So I don’t spend my energy on this group of people”.
IntervIew, 2009, nAtIonAL CoordInAtor AGAInSt trAffICkInG And ProStItutIon
Sex workers may therefore feel that they have to construct a ‘victim’ status to access service providers’ ‘energy’ and resources. This goes some way to explaining why the Stockholm Prostitution Unit assert that sex workers almost universally experience problems with their sex work: those who do not have difficulties or who do not wish to cease selling sex are simply unwelcome.