On June 8, the lower house of the Swiss Parliament, the National Council, rejected by 172 votes against 11 a motion presented by Marianne Streiff, deputy of the Evangelical People’s Party (EVP).
The motion called for a Swiss prohibition of the “purchase of sexual services”. Citing study results indicating that 80% women working in the so-called sex industry would immediately stop their activity if they could, the Christian parliamentarian said: “Prostitution is in fact nothing more than paid sexual violence. It is contrary to human dignity and to the equal rights of men and women”.
“A society that takes equality seriously cannot accept that one person buys another’s body for moneyadded Streiff. The Evangelical Party has also asserted that “there is no prostitution without coercion”, whether exercised by a third party or provoked by social pressure.
An EVP campaign to implement the Nordic Model to end prostitution in Switzerland. / EVP Facebook
While Marianne Streiff points out that a very small number of women work voluntarily in the so-called sex industry, the majority of parliamentarians stressed the freedom to decide on one’s body and means of subsistence.
Opponents of Streiff’s position have said that endorsing a ban on buying sex, while focusing on the client and not the female prostitute, would drive prostitution underground and therefore increase the risks for these women.
The EVP actively advocates the Nordic model which seeks the abolition of prostitution to be implemented in Switzerland. Sweden and France are the two countries in Europe that have most actively sought to punish sex consumers to end the exploitation of women and sex trafficking. The Spanish government recently proposed similar changes to the Penal Code to criminalize sexual clients.
The EVP is a small party in Switzerland, holding only 3 of the 200 seats in the National Council.