All entries for Saturday 17 June 2006
June 17, 2006
I'm sorry for the entries being so focused on Finland. Or, well, this is only the second real entry. I will try to draw some parallels with the UK aswell.
I am proud to boast that Finland granted women the right to vote (first in Europe) and full political rights (first in the world). Subsequently, 19 women were elected to an assembly of 200 parlamentarians, being them aswell, the first to be given this job anywhere in the world.
A hundred years later, during the jubilee of a ground–breaking decision which envisaged a society of equal individuals in the making, the same Parliament is faced with a debate about outlawing prostitution. If following the neighbours, in this case Sweden, all prostitution would be outlawed. But the Finnish parliament is having some trouble in adopting the Swedish you/are/not/allowed/to/buy/sex/but/selling/it/is/not/implicitly/illegal/either which targets the business without seriously victimising the seller.
Instead, a vague bill outlawing soliciting aka pimping has been accepted. This would mean that it is OK to buy sexual favours from anyone who can be thought as an independent businesswoman/–man. It is thought that a crack–down on pimping would also help in preventing human trafficking and modern slavery in the country. The law here in the UK is quite ambiguous, too, just outlawing kerb crawling (hanging around on the streets looking for business) and brothels Eva Biaudet's blogwith more professionals than three. So the police come, chuck away the red table top lamps and make their way through a brothel. they count the gilrs in skimpy clothing. Three. It's ok, carry on. But if there is four, they are in for trouble. Somehow, neither legistlation seems very feasible or even sane.
What is the problem with prostitution in today's society then? Why do we actively shove it away and make it an underground industry? According to the Finnish parlamentarian Eva Biaudet's blog, male parlamentarians quite openly compared and laughed at each others' experiences with prostitutes. A dual morality seems to exist in this, whilst the same genre of male representatives were staunch supporters of banning fertility treatments to lesbian and single women.
Sweden, as mentioned, has had a ban on buying sexual favours for years. Sweden granted the right to vote to women only 1921 and full political rights to all citizens only in 1945. Nevertheless, the Swedish society has a tendency towards equality and a hawkish attitude towards degrading women. Although Finland made some sweeping reforms back in the day, the Finnish morale is not at all on the same level as our neighbour's.
I think it will be an interesting period, seeing what happens after the wishy–washy piece of legislation is passed. I have my fears that instead of curbing pimpin, it will force it to become an even more underground industry, with a better organised structure and an even more ruthless nature. Also, this bill would indirectly legalise prostitution – not addressing the huge social distresses that drive individuals into these desperate measures. It will become pretty much legal to buy sex from an 18 year old drug addict who has to do it because of his or her addiction. I think that instead of helping the victims of human trafficking, it will do the reverse, making their existance even better hidden and threats if they escape even harsher.
Bottom line is that I am very disappointed in my representatives not being able to come up with anything sane. I would not like to say that the patriarchy is back, but I really feel that if this law was made just with the women and not the laughing middle–aged Finnish male parlamentarians in mind, it would be according to the Swedish model.