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Rome Reports

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Swedish feminist and religious sisters join forces to end prostitution

Kajsa Ekis Ekman is a Swedish activist against prostitution. She has written various books and for various newspapers, and gives conferences around the world to raise awareness about the need to eliminate this scourge.

Prostitution is the only form of sexual abuse that is still legal in many countries around the world. There is no country where rape is legal, where assault is legal, where abduction is legal... Well, all these things are part of prostitution.

The Swedish activist found allies among the Oblate Sisters in her mission to raise awareness about this form of exploitation. They participated together in the International Day against Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Women and Children.

The work of the women's movement, of Christian people and organizations, and also of many human rights organizations often coincides. What's odd is that there are organizations that should be standing with us, like Amnesty International, but aren't.

Kajsa Ekis Ekman says her native Sweden is an example for other countries to follow. There, prostitution is illegal and, 10 years after the law was passed, the number of clients fell from 13.6 percent to less than eight percent of the male population. According to Ekman, attempts to regulate prostitution in Germany, the Netherlands and New Zealand have been disastrous.

The excuse was, 'We'll do it so women can pay taxes, so women can have social security'... But when they conducted a study 10 years after this law was passed, less than one percent of women involved in prostitution were registered as prostitutes. Pimps became legal overnight, because, of course, they were no longer called pimps. In Germany and the Netherlands, they're called businessmen. They're part of the economy.

For this journalist, the key to making prostitution illegal is for governments to reach an agreement anyone can sign, regardless of his or her political views. She continues to look for supporters to finally put an end to the exploitation of women.