Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Majority of Finnish lawmakers want to criminalize buying sex

HELSINKI — The majority of Finnish parliamentarians would like to criminalize sex purchases in the Nordic country, according to a survey published by two Finnish newspapers on Tuesday.

Of Finland's 200 legislators, the newspapers Etelae-Suomen Sanomat and Satakunnan Kansa were able to reach 177 for their poll, and 137 of those were in favor of the measure.

Earlier this month the justice ministry set up a working group to study whether Finland should follow neighboring Sweden's example, which criminalized sex purchases — but not the act of selling sexual services — in 1999.

A police report issued earlier this year said that the sex trade in Finland was controlled by mafia groups from neighboring Estonia and Russia, and that sex advertisements in newspapers were their main way of promoting their business.

As a result, most Finnish papers banned such advertisements in their pages.

The working group will publish its recommendations in June next year. A law banning the purchase of sex could enter into force in 2004 at the earliest.

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Created: November 29, 2002
Last modified: November 29, 2002
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