Swedish police say the number of incidents of adults paying for sex with minors has increased over the last year, with some connecting so-called “sugar dating” websites to the increase.
In 2019, Sweden saw a total of 224 reports of the purchase of sexual favours from underage children, the largest number in the country since 2010. The increases have mainly taken place in Stockholm, Sweden’s Northern Region and the region of Bergslagen.
Kajsa Wahlberg, who works with Swedish police in cases of human trafficking, told Swedish broadcaster Sveriges Radio that the increase could be explained by the proliferation of so-called “Sugar Dating” websites.
Sugar dating often involves older men giving gifts and money to much younger partners, both female and male and has been associated with cases of child sex abuse in the past in Sweden.
Last year, a member of the Swedish police’s national operational department lamented that prosecuting those who use sugar dating sites to engage in sexual relations with minors was often difficult.
Sweden: Police Find Difficulties Prosecuting Paedophiles on ‘Sugar Baby’ Websites https://t.co/S4oRzQekzT
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 11, 2019
“One man contacts someone we know is 14, and very clearly says that he wants to buy this person’s virginity. He agrees on the price and so on. At that stage, one might think that it must be a crime but it can be difficult to prosecute the person,” Emil Eisersjö said.
In 2017, a manager at Sweden’s public television broadcaster SVT was caught using a sugar dating website in an attempt to purchase the virginity of a 14-year-old girl. Unknown to the man, the teen was actually a an undercover journalist posing as a child.
The SVT manager is not the only person in Sweden in recent years to be caught trying to lure children for sex.
Last year, two other journalists used the same technique on the homosexual hookup app Grindr and pretended to be a 14-year-old boy. They were met with over 100 responses for sex including an unnamed head of a Swedish gay pride movement.