chapter  5
41 Pages

Clients’ liability for direct contact: battery and conversion

While hardly anyone disputes that traffi ckers should be liable to victims in torts, the suggestion that clients who did not have a specifi c reason to suspect that the CSP from whom they bought sex was forced should also be liable is controversial. The debate between sex-work feminists and abolitionists is conducted against the background of the international anti-traffi cking framework which targets demand as one prevention measure.1 Thus far, this debate has revolved around the criminalisation of clients, of which there are two models. The Swedish model, which is discussed in chapter 6, criminalises the purchase of sex from any CSP. Therefore, the client’s knowledge or ability to know or suspect that the CSP is forced is irrelevant. Whether this model is mainly motivated by or could be justifi ed with respect to the interests of victims, as opposed to the interests of non-forced CSPs or, possibly, women in general, is debated. The thrust of the argument in chapters 6 to 8 is that the civil equivalent of the Swedish model is justifi ed, although some liability curtailing mechanisms are warranted, and that the justifi cation is precisely because the indiscriminate purchase of sex contributes to traffi cking.