Professor Eric Neumayer of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and a team of researchers analyzed data on human trafficking from a global sample of 116 countries.
Under German law, any woman under 55 who has been out of work for more than a year can be forced to take any available job or lose her unemployment benefit, creating a situation where women can be ‘sold’ by the state into sexual slavery.
The unemployed woman, a qualified information technologist, had indicated her willingness to take jobs outside her field and had worked in a café. After refusing an offer to work as a prostitute in the brothel, she was told by the job centre that her benefits would be cut off if she did not go into prostitution.
The legislation virtually wiped out prostitution and sex trafficking in Sweden. The Swedish government estimates that since 1999 only 200 to 400 women and girls have been annually trafficked into Sweden for prostitution, while in neighboring Finland the number is reported to be 15,000 to 17,000.
Germany legalized prostitution in 2002. The researchers found that “Germany showed a sharp increase in reports of human trafficking upon fully legalizing prostitution in 2002.”
Moreover, reports from German authorities have shown that legalization has not had the expected “workplace” benefits for prostitutes, nor has it improved the situation for German women at large.
The LSE researchers’ examination of Denmark, where “self-employed prostitution” was decriminalized in 1999, revealed that the number of human trafficking victims was more than four times that of Sweden, although the population size of Sweden is about 40 percent larger than Denmark.