RealStars visits Finland – a country that carried out a law of compromise

RealStars continiues the mission to meet organisations in other EU countries and share our work in supporting the swedish law on prostitution and our message about Fair Sex. And the most recently is our meetings with organisations from Finland where there’s an interest in new efforts since the backlash in the work against sex trade. RealStars education in hotels and such are gladly demanded in countries like Finland.

Human trafficking constantly travels across borders and cooperation is needed among goverments but also among idéalistic organisations. Such organisations has different work methods, usually by giving support and assistans to victims and vulnurable groups. RealStars focuses more on prevention and since 2010 we’ve been marketing the law on prostitution in other countries. We’re especially supporting participants wanting to work against the demand for sex trade and therefore protect the victims. These meetings are often oppurtunities where we can exchange knowledge which empowers both parts.

In Finland RealStars met scientists, idéalistic organisations, politicians and the national accounter of human trafficking.

In Finland, work has been practised to fulfill a law on prostitution according to the swedish model. But instead, in 2006 they fulfilled a law with flaws which made sex purchases from trafficking victims illeagal but not sex purchases in general. The law is difficult to administer in realtity since it’s impossible to be fully aware of the background and circumstances of a person in prostitution.

The word backlash is used by many to describe the currant situation in Finland. There was a certain sharpening of the law in 2015 when sex purchase was made illeagal no matter if the perpetrator was aware of the victim being a victim of trafficking or not. This law as well as
the last one makes it difficult to prove guilty and has small efficiency with few sentencens.

Developed work against work exploitation:

Apart from the difficult situation in working against sexual exploitation, Finland has come far in the work against work related exploitation. The organisation HEUNI brings out scientific rapports on working conditions and there I met one of the researchers, Anni Lietone. She informs that the goverment does inspections about the working conditions in amongst others, ethnical restaurants, the built and cleaning buissness and season related work such as berry picking.

The conditions shift from small observations to discoveries of human trafficking. Viking Lines is a company that has taken responsebility
for society and has an ethical code: ”In the purpose of counteracting, we are cooperating with the goverment against human trafficking,
prostitution, smuggling and other criminal activity.”

Challenges in the work against sexual exploitation:

At Finland’s national accounter on human trafficking I meet Venla Roth, senior service person at the account function who has a great
experience in the subject of human trafficking. A subsantial work is in process in purpose of strenghten the co operation between Finland’s involved parties on the human trafficking subject. A problem today is that Finland’s police investigates few cases and there has been few convictions for human trafficking and pimping (55 investigated cases 2012 and 16 cases 16). And because of that, very few victims of human trafficking has been identified and taken part in the support program, 2 – 4 per year. It’s often asylumseekers that are being exploited in contries like Italy.

Venla Roth is invited to other contries to provide information about Finland’s lawmaking. She points out some of today’s challenges that even RealStars has come across, for example the new liberal ideology  with the market system as a role model that effects the view on sex
trade. Here, the individual’s freedom is potrayed as superior and is prioritized over society’s protection of vulnerable groups like women
and children. Structural problems and discrimination are made invisible.

In her speech in Irleand, Venla shared her thoughts:

”Individualism doesn’t recognise the fact that people aren’t necessary in the same position of negotiation, neither the fact that one person can have a weaker social position towards the other. An individualistic point of view will not solve the complex problems in
our society, neither will it be good for equality. It will not be able to prevent or stop development that’s damaging equality. At it will
not be able to eliminate structural injustices in society… Prostitution is not just a privat matter that surrounds the sphere of private life. We have to be careful to not again separate the private and public spheres from each other. Us feminists has been able to prove violence and exploitation can’t be privatized.”

Even the meeting with Eva Biaudet, member of parliment and former minister and national accounter on human trafficking was very
providing. She has a big contact web and her work for women’s rights generated many ideas. Gathering visitors, like RealStars does throught round table meetings and educations is a path that she, as well as others I’ve met, wants to pass forward.

There is commitment in this subject and hopefully Finland can take the next step with a law on sex trade fully. Especially now when France has followed the Swedish model and criminalized all sex purchases and includes all victims.

Like many times earlier RealStars are getting proof of that our Fair Sex concept is neccesary in order to talk about freedom, sexuality and
responsebility and that other people’s freedom has to be respected. Fair Sex for everyone.

Malin Roux Johansson, founder and head of activity of RealStars