Wanjiku Kaime (Sweden)

Topic: “Rooms” of Healing and Restoration: Professionals’ perspectives on care management of young people exiting prostitution in Sweden
Language: English 


In 1999, Sweden became the first country to introduce legislation that criminalized sex buyers and not those being paid for sexual services. The decriminalisation of the person selling sex is meant to be combined with provision of support and assistance to exit prostitution. These social interventions were seen as a key part of the Law as indicated in the Women’s Peace Bill of 1995. Research, however, reveals that care providers faced challenges in delivering care.
This study explored the perspectives and experiences of caregivers in providing services to young women and during the first year after exiting prostitution, to better understand the processes of care organization and provision as well as the context within which healing and restoration took place.
A narrative and dialogic approach was adopted, and individual and group dialogues were carried out with 5 caregivers from one Government and one Civil Society care facilities. The participants were included and engaged in dialogues over a period of one year until saturation of data was reached. The data was transcribed verbatim, coded, and analysed using constant comparative analysis.
The caregivers experienced challenges in providing comprehensive care that supports and sustains healing and restoration and were dependent on other programmes beyond their organisations. They described an individual process of healing and restoration that their service users had gone through and three “rooms” could be identified in that process including: (1) Outreach – providing support while in prostitution; (2) Short-term Care – addressing immediate and perceived needs through transient care; and (3) Long-Term Care – providing specialized care. The duration in each “room” varied between care users. Caregivers indicated that limited resources constrained their response time, communication with their clients, their families and other service providers as well as in the completeness of care through all three “rooms” of care.