The following are compiled from various reports since the murder on July 11th of Swedish sex worker and activist, Eva Marree, also known as Petite Jasmine.
Eva-Marree, 27, lost custody of her two children to her ex-boyfriend, 31, in a district court last year. She was stabbed when she went to see her children at an office belonging to local authorities, as her ex had brought a knife with him to the handover.
The victim, who blogged about sex workers on njutningtillsalu.com (Pleasure For Sale), was an outspoken critic of Sweden's attitude toward prostitution, writing on her blog that all abusive sexual practices - such as rape and pedophilia - were already covered by Sweden's penal code.
She last tweeted from her handle @petitejasmine on June 17th, urging her followers to sign a sex workers' petition in neighboring Norway. She was a board member of the Rose Alliance, which works for prostitutes' rights across the world.
"Our board member, fierce activist and friend Petite Jasmine got brutually (sic) murdered yesterday," the network stated on its Facebook page, before claiming that Eva-Marree had lost her children due to her line of work and her beliefs.
Pye Jacobsson, a co-ordinator for Rose Alliance, which works for prostitutes' rights across the world [said]...Jasmine suffered from the reputation and from someone spreading lies about her," explained Jacobsson, who had professional ties with Jasmine through Rose Alliance, where the mother of two was a board member.
Jasmine told her colleagues in the Rose Alliance that the district court took away her children because she "romanticized sex work" and that it deemed her an unfit parent. Social services received a tip-off suggesting the she was using drugs and drinking in front of her children. There were even suggestions that the 27-year-old was working from home, Jacobsson told The Local.
"This couldn't be further from the truth. For one thing, she hardly touched alcohol, but also, she was an upper-class sex worker. She would be coming into Stockholm from Västerås to luxury hotels, just once or twice a week, for a fee of around 4,000 kronor ($610) per hour," she added...she said the lessons to be learned from the incident are simple.
"Firstly, you can't assume that people selling sex aren't fit parents, and secondly, everyone deserves equal protection from the law.
The Swedish State...preferred to give custody of two children to a man known for his violent and abusive tendencies instead of their mother because she was a sex worker and according to them, didn’t know what was good for her or her own kids.
Despite her warnings that the man was violent, she had to go through four court cases and in her final years she barely saw them due to her husband refusing to work with the system that granted her access. When she finally met with her son in July 2013, their father stabbed her to her death. In one final moment of mother instinct, Jasmine was said to have made sure that her son was out of sight as she noticed her husband was about to become increasingly aggressive.
Sweden's laws...theoretically permit women to sell sex, but because buying sex is illegal, sex workers have no legal way to operate. As a result, sex workers face evictions from landlords who don't want to run afoul of the law, surveillance by police trying to catch their customers, and arrests and detentions to secure their testimony against men who buy sex, all in the name of "protecting" them. The ideological underpinning of Sweden's anti-sex work law is that all sex work is violence, therefore anything—even, apparently, the violence administered by law enforcement—is promoted by the state as preferable to sex work.
After nearly 15 years under these laws, there's no evidence that the purchase of sex has declined in Sweden, or that people who sell sex are any better off. Still, in a 2010 evaluation, the Swedish government declared the so-called "Swedish model" a success, and claimed that any of its negative consequences, including increased stigma against sex workers "must be viewed as positive from the perspective that the purpose of the law is indeed to combat prostitution." (Under that logic, if a state wants to eradicate sex work, it may do so by eradicating sex workers.)
Sex workers consider the promotion of the Swedish model and other forms of criminalization not just part of an ongoing "debate" on sex work, but a matter of life and death. "Neither of these approaches to sex work recognize that stigma and discrimination against sex workers leads to violence and abuse," stated ICRSE. "Rather than the state condoning and perpetuating this stigma, states must work with sex workers to challenge the marginal status of sex workers." Friday's international actions were meant both to call states to account and to serve as an antidote to stigma by making sex workers visible as workers and as people with rights.
Sources: The Local, In These Times, and International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe.