The Gothenburg Rescue Mission aim is to recognize and counter the social conditions that lead to and exacerbate vulnerability and exclusion. They work on a broad basis with the vision that “every person has the right to a dignified life.” We asked a few questions to the Rescue Mission and here are the answers.
You within the Rescue Mission is working to support the people who are exploited in prostitution in Gothenburg. What initiatives do you have?
Work against prostitution and human trafficking is fairly new to Rescue Mission but the staff have extensive training and work experience in the field. We are situated close by where women in street prostitution are, and one night a week we offer them fellowship, refreshments, worship and conversations with the team consisting of both social workers and pastors. We have no normal volunteers but handpick the people we see fit for the business. During the rest of the week, the women can contact the staff for practical help with official visits, doctor visits, warm clothes and conversation. We hand out condoms to prevent the spread of infection.
What is the impact on sex trade and the demand for sexual services, when ongoing major events in the city are taken place?
We notice that women have more to do at various fairs and events in the city, sporting events, etc. According to them, for example the dental fair, book fair and film festival are examples of such occasions. At these events there should be more information available on human trafficking and prostitution.
What else can you see is affecting the demand for sexual services?
A big daily paper wrote a couple of years ago, in connection with a trial of a large human trafficking case which drew attention to sex trade, that the prices for sexual services had plummeted on the street. This made us see an increase in demand for a period of time. Growing numbers of young men made their way down to the street. Women themselves pointed out that the boys were very young and they expected that services would be the almost free. It made us think about the mass media’s responsibility. Their articles could be perceived as mere advertising campaigns to solicit potential buyers. We call for a more digging and investigative journalism where the buyers are in focus. They are the offenders and that is what the media should focus on.
How can you as a nonprofit organization best support those who are exploited in prostitution and trafficking. Are there any “exit program” that persons in prostitution can participate in to get a new life and safe environment without prostitution?
We are a complement to other businesses that are working to help these women. We encourage those who wish to leave prostitution to go to for example to MIKA reception and ask for practical and legal assistance of them. We can if necessary obtain shelter for a short period of time. Around Stockholm there are several places and programs for women in prostitution and human trafficking, where they can go and get the peace and quiet to move on. We see it as a problem that we have not anything equivalent in Gothenburg but we are working to obtain it, either through our own solutions or through contacts with others carrying the same vision. Only when we have the “exit program” sheltered accommodation and options to offer these women, the work can go forward.
Interview with the Activities Coordinator at the Rescue Mission