Human trafficking and prostitution are, unfortunately, a big part of crisis and conflict. Sadly these issues tend to end up being swept under the carpet. At the beginning of May RealStars and the Military Academy´s student corps had the opportunity to arrange an important, appreciated lecture entitled “Human trafficking in times of war”.
Lecturers were Brigadier Christian Jeppsson from the Ministry of Defence/Military Academy, Patrik Cederlöf, Senior Investigator at the Board of Equality and Mats Paulsson, also Senior Investigator on the same Board. These exceptionally competent people lectured, reasoned and answered questions from the public on the subject, based on their own experience.
Their aim was to raise knowledge amongst students and to give them tools to increase their knowledge in preparation for their coming working lives.The Military Academy is the unique seat of learning that contributes in the handling of crises and safety, and many of the students are the future bosses and decision makers. To work in international environments, regardless of it being a Swedish authority or an NGO, are typical future jobs for the students of the Military Academy. From that one starting point, a lot of important reasoning came out regarding trafficking and prostitution.
Brigadier Christian Jeppsson and Mats Paulsson both have a great deal of experience in working in exactly such environments and contributed to a constructive discussion on how, as Swedes, one ought to act when one comes across prostitution in international environments, but also that is not so obvious or black and white at all times. Even if Sweden criminalises prostitution, according to Swedish law, how does one act, for example, when one works with colleagues from Germany or the Netherlands, where prostitution, the buying of sex and brothels are legal? Put another way, are we Swedes seen to be extreme in this regard? Then it´s not at obvious or natural to dare to stand up for values that otherwise are obvious crimes back home in Sweden.
The students appreciated the lecturers´ competence and non-judgemental approach enormously, but perhaps more significantly what they appreciated even more was the fact that it was men who made a stand for equality and stood against prostitution. Especially because it was Patrik Cederlöf who stressed the point that prostitution and human trafficking are problems to do with equality and are there because of demand that is driven by men. The fact that men are talking about this was discussed the in chats after the lecture and was recognised and the “golden nugget” of the event.