25% of female inmates engaged in prostitution

Every fourth woman in Sweden's prisons has at some point in her life been engaged in prostitution, Sveriges Radio's Ekot news service reported on Monday.

In addition, one out of 10 female inmates are vulnerable to become victims of human trafficking, according to a study by the Prison and Probation Service, Ekot reported.

Around 300 women are in prison in Sweden every year. Jenny Yourstone Cederwall, who conducted the study, told the programme that many of those who have sold sex frequently early in life have been sexually abused.

“These women have often early in their lives been victims of sexual abuse to a greater extent than female criminals in general,” Yourstone Cederwall told Ekot. “They also have more difficult addiction abuse problems, for example.”

As such, it is important to develop treatment programs to help them. This is the first time that the service has examined the female prisoners’ backgrounds. The hope is that the study will lead to better treatment programs for female inmates.

According to Yourstone Cederwall, it is important to distinguish these women from male inmates as well as other female prisoners, for their needs regarding assistance and rehabilitation are different.

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