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4 month ago
From Daily Star

Coronavirus underage sex work warning as teens turn to prostitution after losing jobs


An unexpected outcome of the coronavirus pandemic is concerning police in Sweden. Young people are going into illegal sex work to make money after losing their part-time jobs, a recent undercover operation revealed. "Their parents also spoke about this. We are talking low-paying jobs, such as fast-food restaurants," Malin Andersson, Secretary of Social Affairs for the Stockholm City Youth Rapid Response Team, told the newspaper Dagens Nyheter. Operation Cod targeted people paying for sex in Stockholm. Police identified at least five sex workers under the age of 18, whose ads said things like "lost my extra jobs". "We clearly see increased activity among young people," Detective Inspector Simon Häggström told Svenska Dagbladet.

"They themselves say this is due to corona, that they have no job, and that they just sit at home. It is definitely a new group of young people making their debut now. It's alarming." Social services say most young people involved in the illegal trade started out advertising themselves on "sugar dating sites", where wealthy adults - usually men - pay young people for dates, companionship or sex. "This implies a very big risk," Andersson said. "People who are interested in children have already crossed the threshold, they don't care what the child thinks. Also, they are very good at persuading."

Stockholm City social affairs councillor Jan Jönsson has vowed to address the issue. "Now we see more active male users on sugar dating sites, and young people are more likely to post ads offering sexual services. All this is very serious, as we know: very often this kind of arrangement is a direct gateway to prostitution." Andersson said some young Swedes have been experiencing poor mental health during the lockdown. "They feel isolated. If a person falls into this sphere, usually there are some reasons. Everyone there feels bad, due to different circumstances. We can talk about previous traumas due to which one now feels completely alone, estranged from others."

 
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