Rose Alliance in the News

Source (institute/publication)

Rose Alliance spokesperson, Pye Jakobsen, is quoted in an article on The story covers discussions from a meeting of sex worker rights activists who were concerned about the use of laws that criminalise sex workers, the impact of these laws on the way that society views sex work and sex workers and the regional implications of law reform. “In my opinion other Nordic countries should give up the stupid belief that we in Sweden have all the answers, because we don’t,” declared Jakobsen.

Sex trade activists oppose illegalising prostitution

Sex trade activists meeting in Helsinki have condemned talk about restricting or illegalising the sex trade in Finland.

Activists from Nordic countries say experience shows that the total criminalisation of the sex trade exposes sex workers to violence and could even lead to infringements of their basic rights and freedoms.

The gathering of activists and members of support networks for sex workers have been mulling over the current status of sex workers in the Nordics. They are particularly disturbed by the outright ban on the sex trade in Sweden and Norway.

Jaana Kauppinen of the Finnish support group Pro-tukipiste says the consequences of illegalising the sex trade have been negative from the sex workers’ point of view. “It’s not just the criminalisation, but also the complete change of attitude in society. It has spread to many other areas of their lives and led to infringements of their rights,” she pointed out.

In Sweden sex workers involved in custody battles often find themselves to be the underdogs. “One woman in our organisation who was in a custody battle said she was expected to play the victim and cry, and if she didn’t do this, it would become difficult for her to see her own child,” explained Pye Jakobsen, a sex trade activist from the Rose Alianse organisation in Sweden.

The sex trade is visible on the streets and in the bars of Helsinki and has been in the headlines for many weeks. While activists say that nothing has changed and that the public are singing the same old refrain, the police have a different view.

“This phenomenon has multiplied and spread, perhaps more foreign sex workers have come here and society’s tolerance levels have already peaked,” said Inspector Jussi Huhtela of the Helsinki Police.

Interior Minister and Christian Democrat Päivi Räsänen sparked controversy by proposing an outright ban on the sex trade as has been done in Sweden. But Kauppinen charges that such a tactic would only drive the trade underground and mask bigger problems.

“The trade would shut down in a way and move to unfamiliar areas, and that would pave the way for many problems such as violence and infringement of personal rights,” she noted.

“In my opinion other Nordic countries should give up the stupid belief that we in Sweden have all the answers, because we don’t,” declared Jakobsen.

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