Former Prostitute Opens Up Discussion on Ban in Norway

While Norwegian government considers to remove the ban on buying sex, a striking blogpost of a former prostitute leads to new discussion on prostitution and its challenges for the women in the sector.

For three years, Tanja Rahm sold her body. Now she fights against the myth of “the happy prostitute”. Danish citizen Tanja Rahm shared her experiences as a prostitute with Norwegian readers on Aftenposten.

– I thought the debate around prostitution has faded away, so I thought I should write a post. There was no point to attack prostitutes, it’s them I will support – so I thought I would attack the buyers, says Rahm to Aftenposten.

In her article in a letter format addressing her former clients, she wrote that she never wanted to be with them even if she pretended to do so. Rahm dispelled the myth of the happy prostitute with detailed description of the hatred she felt about her job and the men’s attitudes.

– Although there were many normal men, you see the hideout of men with sick sexual inclinations, said Rahm.

She also believes prostitution may not be a volunteer choice on the contrary to common sense.

– I think that there may be a very small group that wants to do prostitution as a job. But most acknowledge that they really do it when they do not have any other choice, says Rahm.

Rahm believes that a ban on buying sex will lead to fewer customers, and that men who are inclined to buy sex then would feel obliged to built healthy and normal relationships.

– If we criminalize sex, men will make a greater effort to have partners, instead of paying for sexual pleasure, says Rahm.

Rahm believes that Denmark should ban the purchase of sexual services, in line with Norway and Sweden.

For Danish Tanja Rahm, it was not very easy to opt out. She received financial and psychological support of the parents to get out of prostitution, and began therapy. Now, 13 years after, Tanja Rahm has a new life as a therapist and pedagogy student.

She uses her free time for political work against prostitution. But this change has had its price. Criminal groups threaten her, and she has an unlisted telephone number and lives on a hidden address.

Since January 1, 2009, prostitution in Norway is illegal in that paying for sex is a crime (the client commits a crime by purchasing sex. The Norwegian law prohibiting the buying of sexual services (sexkjøpsloven) came into effect, following the passing of new legislation by the Norwegian parliament (Storting) in November 2008. Soliciting and advertising are also illegal under the Norwegian Criminal Code (Straffeloven).

In the Declaration on Cooperation with the coalition government between the four bourgeois parties, Frp, Høyre, Venstre and KrF had agreed the sex-purchase law to be evaluated. It is known that the Conservative Party, Progress Party and the Liberals will make it legal to buy sex. 

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