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Sweden mulls sex ethics rules for overseas staff

TT/The Local/vt · 9 Nov 2010, 11:22

Published: 09 Nov 2010 11:22 GMT+01:00

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The measures include education, a common website and guidance materials that will be developed.

"It is clear that everyone knows that you cannot buy sex, surf for porn during work hours, or come as a rich man or woman and sexually exploit someone living in poverty. That much we know. But it must be made clear in a document what you can do and cannot do," Gender Equality Minister Nyamko Sabuni told the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) daily on Monday.

However, she said that the government is reluctant to "put its foot down" and establish standard general guidelines.

"Different agencies have different needs," she told the newspaper. "You can't compare the military in peace-promoting missions with agencies which maybe only travel to Brussels."

The government has not investigated how common the purchase of sexual services, visits to porn clubs and the sexual exploitation of locals is among Swedish civil servants, soldiers and aid workers.

Sabuni instead used media coverage on Swedish soldiers who bought sex in Germany and UN staff who exploited the local population in the Congo, to illustrate the problem.

Story continues below…

A study commissioned by the government showed that only one-fifth of all government agencies have some form of ethical guidelines and the government hopes that the 10 million kronor allocation will address this.

"Even though they suspect that this is bad behaviour, it should be clear what the consequences are if one violates the ethical guidelines. It is difficult for the employer to take action when it is not known from the beginning that it is a violation of the guidelines. Clarity is needed," said Sabuni.

TT/The Local/vt (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:05 November 9, 2010 by RobinHood
Guidelines should be written. That way those who breach them cannot say they did not know what they did was wrong. It makes it much easier to discipline them later.

But 10 million Kronor! Come on. How much research to you need to write "Don't pay for sex. Ever. If you do, you will be fired."?

Anyone with a decent sense of what is right and what is wrong could do it in a couple of hours.
12:17 November 9, 2010 by Swedesmith
How about this rule: don't screw over the tax payers!
13:07 November 9, 2010 by unforgiven
@ Nyamko

In near future you will probably cut off Swedish soldiers' balls to make sure they cannot buy sex anymore anywhere in the world! Come on... these are the stuff happening everywhere in the world everyday and you cannot stop it by scaring off people.

A clean home needs a clean toilet also. Just start legalizing prostitution and there will be much less exploitations abroad.

@ Swedesmith

I can add some more rules: don't fart during work hours, don't pick your nose while you are abroad, don't pee standing and so on...
14:36 November 9, 2010 by zircon
Bad Lieutenant.
16:08 November 9, 2010 by xguild
@Nyamko ... seriously? Do you really believe that by legalizing the purchase of sex that their will be less exploitation?

Clearly you have not traveled enough. The centers of exploitation in the world are places where prostitution is legal. Have you ever been in Vegas? Thailand? Brussels?

How about we sell crack pipes at Ica Maxi? Sell child pornagraphy at the local Folketshuset? Or perhaps we should just eliminate laws all together and live under a if you can wrangle it with a rope its yours to do with what you want?

That may be the lamest approach to solving a problem I have ever heard off. The exploitation of prodominantly poverty stricken underaged women around the world is one of the most offensive and distrubing phenomenon's of humanity. It's a stain on the very fabric of society world wide and an emberassment of every culture that promotes. Sweden should put as much distance between itself and the practice of paying for sex as possible.
18:45 November 9, 2010 by unforgiven
@ xguild

Are you comparing Sweden with Thailand!? why don't you compare it with Germany or even Denmark? Underground prostitution activities are always much dirtier than the legalized ones. What I mean is legalization under a controlled manner which will create more support for women/men selling themselves for sex. The problem is that everything is either black or white for you!
18:47 November 9, 2010 by KungsholmenGuy
Agree with Robinhood, what a colossal waste of money.

And the line 'a study commissioned by the government revealed that only one fifth of all agencies...', also sounds like another activity paid for by an external consulting firm.

The program and the initial study should have costed nothing in the sense that the ethics minister and her staff should have been able to write up the rules during regular working hours, and distribute these by email, and/or as memos that newhires in all governement departments are instructed to read.

And fnally if sexual exploitation is a moral issue, then, although circumstances in various parts of the world differ, why should the actual misconduct rules and consequence differ for someone travelling to Brussels vs someone in a peace keeping mission?
20:30 November 9, 2010 by McChatter
Wow! So it's going to cost Swedish taxpayers SEK 10 million to tell the Swedes how to keep their y-fronts on when their "abroad". Or does it apply to females also?

If this costs 10 million, what will it cost to educate them regarding alcohol abuse "abroad"?

This year's budget must have an awful lot of room if you can account for this.

Sänk våra skatter ännu mer!
21:06 November 9, 2010 by locaxy

What on earth do you mean by "exploitation"? Is it exploitation to buy a service from a adult sane person who is selling it?

Is it exploitation to pay people to clean your toilet? Is it exploitation to pay people to give you pleasure such as one would derive from a massage?

You must be one of those who don't have the slightest clue about how markets operate. Add some religiously-derived dogmas and a hint of ultrafeminism and you end up with ridiculous situations.

If you have a problem with dodgy characters enslaving sex-workers, that's already covered in the law. As for pipes, I believe they're freely sold in your local tobacco store.

Spend some time thinking for yourself instead of regurgitating a tired old prohibitionist line.
04:59 November 10, 2010 by Njal
Hmmm... 10 million to teach wicked, beastly Swedes 'sex ethic's', who at the end of the day are at least giving financial consideration albeit to an unwilling party.

Perhaps the honourable minister could use the 10 M to provide for un-willing Congolese women, raped by their men-folk. Then, when the inevitable happens (not wishing to sound too 'fatalistic' begging your indulgence), there would be shelter, food and medicine, tho' counselling may be a bit much for 10 M though.

Future 'policy-abjurers' , are liable to make the honourable minister for gender equality, very cross occasioning another 'put-one's-foot-down-stop-abusing-the-locals-guide-lines-which-cannot-effectively-be-implemented-until the foreign-govt.-gives-a-stuff-stop-me-if-I'm-sounding-cynical-plan'.

In related stories, a mayor was sacked, and a soldier packed off home, both doubtless to be annihilated by the press (earned or not).

I guess 10 M for guidelines could work tho'.
06:24 November 10, 2010 by Frobobbles
Sexual Harassment Panda!
15:15 November 10, 2010 by Alf Garnett
@riksdag: i'll create your ethics rules for 2 million.

There are 10 rules which can be used as a guidline!!

Doesn't cost 10mill to expand on them, unless of course you're going to use some overpriced committee to do the job.
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