Sex Work

Sex work per se is unregulated in Finland. It is neither a legal nor criminal activity. The Aliens Act and the Penal Code of Finland include legislation relating to pandering, trafficking and refusal of entry. The Penal Code and Aliens Act are national laws. Sex workers are unequal due to the Aliens Act. If a non-EU sex worker is expected to sell sexual services, he or she may be refused entry into the country. If there are reasonable grounds to suspect that a person may sell sexual services, he or she may be refused entry. A person has to be under suspicion; entry cannot be refused by one’s appearance. If a person is refused entry on an earlier occasion, a new visa is not granted.

Although sex work per se is not regulated, it does not mean that sex workers are free to do their work or that they will have legal protection. As prostitution is considered to be an act against public decency, sex workers do not have work-related legal rights. In practice, this means that sex work is ‘tolerated’.

Legally, the status of prostitution is very vague. Sex work, like the sale of sexual services, is not criminalized. However, as prostitution is considered an act against public decency, setting up a firm whose field of activity would be prostitution is not possible. The labour rights of sex workers are not defined anywhere. As the marketing of sexual services is criminalized as well, advertising opportunities are very few. In a broad sense, in Nordic countries prostitution is considered a social problem and sex workers are seen more as a special target group for social work rather than being seen as workers with rights of sovereignty.

According to the tax law, all income is taxable. Paying taxes is problematic if one works as a prostitute. Even if one should want to pay taxes, in practice, it is impossible to do so. Because prostitution is considered to be an act against public decency, a sex worker cannot establish her own business nor can she work for somebody else because the employer would be considered a pimp. Other forms of sex work (striptease dance, porn film actors/actresses, intimate massage, etc.,) have legal status, which means that a sex worker can run his/her own business or may work for someone else.

Both pandering and aggravated pandering are criminalized. Aggravated pandering is easier to perceive, whereas normal pandering is more difficult to interpret accurately because of its wide scope of application. Buying sexual services from the victims of human trafficking or the targets of panderers or from a person under 18 years old are criminalized. The violence against sex workers often remains hidden in the cases of pimping or trafficking. The general attitude is that prostitution already includes violence; therefore, it is not treated separately as a violation of sex workers rights and integrity.