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One third of all sex purchases occur in connection with business trips abroad. Swedish corporations are encouraged to implement ethical guidelines to counter sexual exploitation in protection of human rights as well as the protection of their employees.
The 22nd of March 2013, the Swedish Women’s Lobby invite corporations and organisations to partake in an educational seminar regarding ethical guidelines and counter-trafficking.
Scroll down to read more about the seminar under the header “Do you want to know more?” and to find out how you can register your company.
The Swedish Women’s Lobby introduced the campaign at the United Nations 57th Commission on the Status of Women in New York, 4-15 of March 2013, where leaders from all over the world annually participate to negotiate the proposals for improving the status of women.
Watch the interview with Charlotte Holgersson, Phd and senior researcher in Gender, Organization and Management at the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology, explaining her research in the field of business and prostitution.
ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN
Corporate Compass – Policy on Sexual Exploitation
- Ethical guidelines to counter trafficking
The project Corporate Compass envisions the involvement of corporations in the counter-trafficking and women’s rights process. By implementing ethical guidelines against sex purchases and sexual exploitation, companies show that they respect and take an active part in realizing the common goal of safeguarding human rights. Ethical guidelines improve the work environment within the organization and reduce the risk of corruption, at the same time as it contributes to a more gender equal world.
Why ethical guidelines to counter trafficking?
- 1. Reducing the risk of corruption
Organized crime takes its form in a variety of ways. Brothels, sex clubs etc. are often connected to other forms of organized crime, such as drug dealing or money laundering. Affiliation with organized crime can give indirect support to human trafficking and human rights violations.
- 2. Improved work environment
It provides an important backing for the employee to have clear guidelines regarding commercialized sex and related activities if unpleasant situations should emerge in connection with brothels or escort services during business trips.
- 3. A clear standpoint for human rights against trafficking and sexual exploitation, together with an improvement in gender equality.
WHAT DOES THE LAW SAY?
Sex purchases and the buying of sexual services is a criminal offense in Sweden since 1999. Prostitution and trafficking for sexual purposes is a severe hindrance for social equality and equality between men and women, as well as for the victims exposed to enjoy their human rights. The punishment for sex purchases is a fine or up to a year of imprisonment.
However, the purchase of sexual services by a Swedish citizen is not illegal in countries where prostitution has not yet been criminalized and Swedish law has no jurisdiction. To prevent Swedish citizens to violate human rights abroad, it is of great importance that Swedish corporations implement clear guidelines to counter trafficking and sexual exploitation within their codes of conduct, for their employees.
Swedish corporations can have an impact on their employees where the Swedish state cannot reach them. Therefore, the Swedish government sees this implementation from the companies’ side as highly desirable.
For more information about the Swedish law on sex purchases in English, see “Targeting the Sex Buyer” published by the Swedish Institute.
See also a summary in English of the Swedish government’s evaluation of the law on the prohibition of the purchase of sexual services, 1999-2008.
Sex purchases on business trips – is it really a problem?
Studies show that 80 % of all sex purchases occur abroad and a third of these during or in connection with business trips. Several companies have experienced situations where sex purchases, visits to strips clubs and other forms of sexual exploitation have occurred during business trips. Most of the corporations do not want to be associated with these kinds of activities and do not consider it to be in line with the company’s ethical guidelines. However, many corporations declare being exposed to a different business culture when dealing with companies abroad, where both strip clubs and excessive alcohol consumptions are part of business representations. It is therefore important for companies to be clear and provide an ethical framework for employees to be able to resist these types of activities, without fearing that it will cost them the business deal.
Including women in the business process
Business deals and representation that takes place within these areas, outside formal meeting and with no transparency, increase the risk of corruption. These are also areas where women and female employees become excluded from representation.
For companies who want to include women in their representation, putting a ban on business meetings that occur in places where female colleagues are often not invited to, or for understandable reasons do not want to attend, would be an effective method and an obvious start. A company that respects women would not allow their representatives to meet and do business in areas where women are exploited.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporation’s commitment to their social and environmental responsibility has increased in the past few years, and several corporations already engage in the elimination of child prostitution and trafficking. To implement ethical guidelines countering all forms of sexual exploitation would be to take a stand for human rights and actively lead a CSR-process that brings us forward!
Support Corporate Compass – Policy on sexual exploitation
Does your company already have or will be implementing ethical guidelines to counter trafficking? Contact the Swedish Women’s Lobby and we will publish your logo on our campaign site www.rattriktning.se. We encourage corporations who choose to join the campaign to use the Corporate Compass-logo in their own information material regarding their CRS-work.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Framework for ethical guidelines
How the ethical guidelines are formulated varies. It is recommended to include the following three principles stated here below in the company’s policy. Remember that the clearer the rules and guidelines are stated, in regards to the visiting of strips clubs, escort services etc. the greater backing it provides for the employee when faced with an inconvenient situation.
- I am aware that all purchase of sexual services is unauthorized. I do not visit areas and locations where sexual services are offered.
- I am aware that visits to porn- or strip clubs are unauthorized.
- I am aware that the work environment should be kept free from porn.
DO YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE?
The Swedish Women’s Lobby is hosting a seminar on why and how to implement ethical guidelines
None of your business? – Educational seminar on ethical guidelines countering trafficking and sexual exploitation
Time: 22nd of March, 2013 8.30 – 12.00
Location: On a central location in Stockholm, to be announced.
Registration: Sign up here before the 1st of March.
Most companies have ethical guidelines regarding codes of conduct for their employees. However, many lack guidelines dealing with trafficking, sex purchases, visits to strip clubs and escort services, or pornography. The 22nd of March, the Swedish Women’s Lobby invite corporations and organizations to partake in an educational seminar regarding ethical guidelines countering trafficking. What is the connection between sex purchases, sex clubs and business trips today? How can ethical guidelines improve the work environment and the company profile and at the same time reduce the risk of corruption? What legal aspects are important in the development of ethical guidelines?
“We have had a prohibition on sex purchases in connection to business trips in our ethical guidelines for years now and we are very clear on the consequences that will follow if rules are not respected. This has only received positive reactions within the organization.”
- Anette Segercrantz, HR-director for the Nordic countries at Storebrand/SPP
Ethical guidelines against trafficking provide the following:
- A reduced risk for corruption
- An improved work environment
- A clear symbolic gesture of the respect for human rights, against trafficking and sexual exploitation as well as improved gender equality
Prostitution and trafficking from a global perspective
- Kajsa Wahlberg, the Swedish national rapporteur on prostitution and trafficking, the Swedish Police
Sex purchases, strip clubs and other forms of sexual exploitation within the corporative sphere – is it really a problem?
- Charlotte Holgerssson, Doctor in economy and associate professor in gender studies, organization and management, The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)
Ethical guidelines to counter trafficking – a guidance
- Anna Lindstedt, CEO at Ethos International
The complete programme will soon be announced.
Le Lobby Suédois des Femmes invite les compagnies suédoises à adopter le Corporate Compass!
En 1999, un homme sur huit, soit 12% des Suédois, payait pour avoir des relations sexuelles. En 2010, ce pourcentage est descendu à 8% après l’instauration de la loi contre l’achat de service sexuelle, ” Swedish Sex Purchase Act” désormais connu à l’étranger comme le modèle suédois.
Malgré cette loi, les suédois peuvent toujours exploiter les systèmes à faible protection à l’étranger.
80% du tourisme sexuel se pratique dans des pays étrangers, dont un tiers dans le cadre des voyages d’affaires.
Consciente de ce fait, le Lebby Suédois des Femmes a lancé le projet Corporate Compass, visant à d’abord informer les entreprises suédoises que les activités de leur employés à l’étranger sont des violations des droits de l’homme, et qu’ells sont plus courant qu’on ne peut croire.
Il s’agit de règles éthiques pour combattre l’exploitation sexuelle et protéger les droits humains, de même que protéger leurs employés.
Le divertissement sexuel est désormais bien ancré dans les mœurs des compagnies, ce qui montre des études menées par Charlotte Holgersson, proffesseure agregée à l’Institut Royal de la Technologie (KTH) à Stockholm.
Pendant les négociations d’un contrat, certaines compagnies emmenent les cadres concernés dans des clubs de strip-tease ou leur offrent des services d’escortes qui sont en réalité des prostituées de luxe. Craignant que cela fasse échouer leurs négociations, il y a des cadres qui se sentent gênés d’avoir à refuser ce genre de services. Il est alors non seulement une question de protéger les jeunes femmes au sein de ces clubs, souvent issues de l’exploitation depuis un âge précoce, mais aussi la protection des employés de l’entreprise.
Sans un code de conduite ou des règles éthiques, il devient très difficil de pouvoir réfuser une telle proposition quand c’est parfois même proposé par un collegue de rang supérieur.
Nous encourageons les compagnies suédoises à signer ce code de conduite qui montre qu’elles refusent l’exploitation sexuelle, et qu’elles ont pris des mésures afin de l’assurer aussi.