Law • 1.Crimelaw chapter 20 § 6. • Sexual abuse of a child • When • 1) someone has sexual intercourse with a child under 16 years, • 2) by touching or in other ways does a sexual act to a child under 16 years which will evidently harm the child´s natural development, • 3) or make the child enter into an act defined in paragraph 2, must be judged for sexual abuse of a child, for 4 years maximum.
How it is in Finland • Finland does not record a large number of children sexually exploited through prostitution. Most cases of sexual exploitation of children are related to the possession of child pornography, mainly through downloading images from the Internet, and to child sex tourism practiced by Finnish nationals in foreign destinations, especially in Russia and Estonia.
Prostitution in the country is usually formally organised through procuring organisations which are careful to ensure that the individuals they engage in sexual activities are not minors, because of the stiff penalties and the great risk of getting caught by the authorities. As a result, most individuals involved in prostitution in the country are between the ages of 18-29.
Prostitution has been condemned, shameful and act of low standing individuals in many societies. It is not accepted among most religions and it is mainly frowned upon in communities. According to researcher, Anna Kontula, the estimated number of prostitutes is 8000 in Finland. Half of these workers are finnish natives and the other half Russians and Estonians. She believes that this is mainly a means to an end for students who prefer the fast money earned to more time consuming and less financially beneficial jobs. In 2006 the parliament passed a law, which partially banned the practise of this profession. The law is enforced in the cases, where there are pimps or humantrafficking involved.
Nowadays prostitution itself is legal in Finland, but soliciting in a public place is still illegal. Also organized prostitution (operating brothels or prostitution rings) is illegal. According to recent studies, 69% of the currently operating prostitutes in Finland are foreigners. The U.S State Dept Trafficking In Persons Report stated that Finland is a destination and transit country for women and girls trafficked from eastern countries and usually distributed not only to Europe but also the United States of America.
Police are investigating cases where 13 to 17-year-olds sold sexual services for money - although they say that alcohol, drugs, CD's, jeans and clothes are an even more common form of payment. Around one in three underage prostitutes are boys, but as far as police know, all of the customers have been men. The crime is difficult to track, as both buyer and seller are keen to keep the transaction secret. While prostitution is legal in Finland, buying sex from minors is not.
Problems in the eyes of government/law • Minors (under 16 years) havingsexualintercourse with adults, whenminorsnotforced to. For example, in Finland therehasbeenseveralcaseswhen a sportstrainerhastakenadvantage of histrainee. The traineeseethis as an equalrelationship, notunderstanding the factthat the trainer is usingher. It is also common thatunderagedgirlsdateoldermenand havesexualintercourse with them.
Problems in the eyes of youth • Finland is growing to bemore and moreopen-minded, and the youth is in behalf of givinghomosexuals the right to getmarried. The right for gays to getmarriedhasn’tyetbeendiscussed in the parliament. • The youthalsosee the punishments for those, whohavecommittedsexualcrimes, toomild. For example, the discussions in internet containlots of proposalsthatpedophilesshouldbeneutered etc.
The impact of family • The parentsshouldbe an example to theiryoungsters, on how to behave in relationships. Also the parents’ attitudes and opinionseffectstrongly. For example, if the youngstersparentsarenarrowminded with LGBT-people(lesbian, gay, bi, trans), itcanbedifficult to come out of closetor the youngstercangrow to benarrowmindedalso.
Impact of peergroups-subcultures • Young peoplehave a greatneed to beaccepted and liked in theirpeergroups, and thiscanlead to actions, thatharm the youngster. In Finland, over 10% of 15-years oldgirls and boyshavesuffered of sexualabuse. • The younger and moreinsecure the youngster is, the harderit is to say ”no” underpressure.
Impact of institutions • In Finland, the opinionthatLGBT-peoplearedifferent and thereforenot as good, is stillsomewhatprevailing. Luckilythis is changingslowly, as the youth is moreopenminded. • The amendment to the lawto allowgaymarriageshasn’tyetgotenoughsupport to get to the parliament.
Impact of media • According to the people that we interviewed, media has a big impact to sexual early initiation, especially with girls. Youth can see erotic and sexual material via television, computers and magazines daily, and usually it gives a certain kind of picture from sex and how a body, especially a woman’s body, should look and be like. Media also can give pressure to young girls to have sex and appear sexually attractive to the opposite sex. • Media also has an impact on people’s attitudes and knowledge about sex and sexuality, what is normal and what isn’t.
Opinions of political a representativePirkko Häli, a member of the christian-democratic party • The problem, thatoccurs the most, is sexualearlyinitiation. Italsoleadsmanytimes to STD:s. Alsohomophobiashowsalot in our culture. • Pedophiliahasbeenbroughtup in media because of the pedophiliathatexists in somereligiousgroups. Pedophiliacanalsoexist in internet, and childrenaremoreaware of the dangers in internet.
Pirkko Hälicontinues.. • Parentsshouldtalk with theirchildrenmoreaboutsexuality. I believethat in school and with the schoolnursethesesubjectsaremorediscussed. • The media showstoomucherotic and sexualmaterial, and itgives a wrong impression to childrenaboutsex. • The solutions, methods and treatment I know: helpingtelephones for children and youth, schoolnurses, the health center doctorsand the prevention clinic. I’mnot sure ifthere is enough help for the boys, becausemany of social- and healthcareworkersarewomen.
Opinions of a social/culturalrepresentativeAnnukka Käkelä,recrenationalsecretary • The problem, thatoccurs the most, is sexualearlyinitiation, mostly with girls. Itshows for example as girlsdressingup to revealingclothes to please the boys. • Nowadays the youth is moreaccepting, and seegaysno different to otherpeople. Thoughnobodyknowshomosexualgirls.
Opinions of a social/culturalrepresentativeLeena Salmu, youthworker • The problems, that show the most, arehomophobiaand sexualearlyinitiation. Homophobiacomesup daily in work, the youtharecallingnames (”gay”, ”homo” etc.) and theydiscriminatehomosexuals. • Sexuality and problemsrelated to itarenotdiscussedenough with the youth. In youthwork, some of the youngsterstalkmoreaboutsexuality, mainlydating, having a boyfriend/girlfriend. • The youthfindsiteasier to talkaboutsexualitywhenanonymous, for example in the internet.
Leena Salmucontinues.. • I believethat the youngstersdon’tknowwhere to seek for and find help with sexualrelatedproblems. • The solutions, methods, treatment I know: schoolnurses, the rainbow-group (a group for LGBT-people in Kokkola), youthworkers, psychiatricpolyclinic, NOPSA-group, HUBI. Manyyoungstersseek for help from the internet, parents, siblins, friends, TV and media.
Sources: • Crimelaw • Helsingin Sanomat, YLE News, 02 March 2008. www.yle.fi/uutiset/news/2008/03/more_men_buying_sex_from_minors_284795.html • http://www.vantaa.fi/instancedata/prime_product_julkaisu/vantaa/embeds/vantaawwwstructure/67461_Fakta_-_seksuaalisuus.pdf • http://www.talouselama.fi/uutiset/hallitus+homoliitoista+kytee+jo+kiista/a2084367 • http://annakontula.fi/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/prostituutiosuomessa.pdf
Sources: • http://metro.fi/paakaupunkiseutu/uutiset/mtv3_teinipojat_myyvat_seksia_miehille/ • Interviews • http://www.iltalehti.fi/uutiset/2010071012018909_uu.shtml • http://www.iltasanomat.fi/kotimaa/art-1288474193618.html • http://www.aamulehti.fi/Kotimaa/1194729413577/artikkeli/avioliittoaloite+jakoi+eduskuntaa+-+homoavioliitto+loukkaa+syvasti+kansalaisten+tuntoja+.html