One of the most striking dimensions of the debate that occurred in Sweden in the early 1990s about whether or not to join the EU was the way that prostitution emerged as an argument for staying out of the EU. In the two years leading up to the referen- dum in November 1994, numerous articles were published in Swedish newspapers asserting that Sweden would be overrun with foreign prostitutes if the country entered the EU. I have already mentioned reports like the one that claimed that 100,000 ‘Eastern bloc’ women were gathering like storm clouds on the horizon, waiting to get into Sweden and spread HIV. The same year that that article appeared, the theme of threat was explic- itly enunciated by Karin Starrin, then the President of the Center party’s League of Women. In a public speech, Starrin announced that ‘The biggest threat is the outpour- ing of prostitution from the former communist countries. A Russian woman can earn half a yearly salary from a couple of acts of intercourse in Sweden. There are those who think that it’s OK to come here and sell themselves’ (Expressen, 93–06–18).

Don KULICK, “Sex in the New Europe, The Criminalization of Clients and Swedish Fear of Penetration, Anthropological Theory 2003 3: 199

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