Finland's Minister of 'Justice' Anna-Maja Henriksson is asking the government to consider revising laws on prostitution to completely ban the purchase of sex.
A report published by her ministry criticises the current legislation for being too
difficult to understand and claims not doing enough is being done to protect victims of human trafficking and procurement.
The anti-prostitution report says that the present ban on purchasing sex from victims of human trafficking is unworkable --
as it obliges authorities to prove after the fact that the customer should have known about human trafficking or pimping. The law has been on the books since 2006.
The Public Law and Order Act, meanwhile, forbids the offering or buying of sexual
services in public places. The report claims that this ban has basically only been applied to the sale of sex.
The report inevitable argues that men should be criminalised just for the convenience of the authorities. And to confirm the man hating
basis for the proposal, the panel also recommends completely removing bans on the sale of sex and clarifying the definition of procurement or pimping.
As she announced the results of the study, Henriksson reiterated her previous stance that
the buying of sex should be made illegal in all circumstances. She said she plans to bring the matter before the cabinet soon.
Finnish authorities are in general backing the proposal that buying sex from a victim of pimping or sex trafficking would become illegal, even if the buyer is unaware of the sex worker's circumstances. A court could sentence a person paying for sex if it
considers that there was reason to suspect that pimping or human trafficking was involved.
The proposal was sparked by a previous ruling by the Supreme Court in 2012 when the court dismissed the charges against a young man suspected of abusing a
victim of sex trafficking. According to the court, the accused could not have known for certain that the Estonian woman was a victim of pimping, even though there were many circumstances that pointed to that assumption.
The Supreme Court's ruling
raised the threshold for sentencing a person paying for sex so high that the Ministry of Justice decided that a law reform was necessary. The changes would mean that sex workers' customers are liable to prosecution if there is reason to suspect pimping
or sex trafficking. The maximum sentence for this offence would go up to a year.
The proposed reform has garnered support from the National Police Board, the Tukinainen support centre for rape victims, the Finnish Bar Association and the Ombudsman