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Home NATIONALTougher law on cards to curb pimping, sex trafficking
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Fri, 04 Jul, 2014 12:07:16 AM
FTimes-STT Report, July 4
 
File picture of sex workers in Helsinki street. Photo Lehtikuva.
The government has taken a move to bring amendments to the law to toughen the penalties for exploitation of a victim of pimping and sex trafficking.
 
The Ministry of Justice has already prepared a draft in this regard which was sent for consultation on Wednesday, ministry sources said.
 
The draft proposal says criminal law should specify that such an act constitutes a crime even if committed negligently. According to the existing law, the act is punishable when committed intentionally. In this case, the act by the buyer has to be intentional or one must be aware of the ongoing pimping or human trafficking.
 
The draft also proposes increasing the maximum punishment for the offence from six-month to one-year imprisonment.
 
Minister of Justice Anna-Maja Henriksson in a statement said redrafting of the law will offer better protection to victims of pimping or human trafficking.
 
The minister said a stricter rule and threat of punishment can be viewed to have a diminishing effect on sex trade and thus reduce the demand for sexual services from victims of pimping and trafficking.
 
Earlier in March, the government took the initiative to enact a law bringing amendments to the existing law to restrict sex trade in the country.
 
The minister at that time said a complete ban of the practice would have been a better option but the proposition does not have enough support in the government.
 
She also expressed her disappointment and wanted to ensure accountability, because there is clear evidence that the law does not function.
 
File picture of Prostitute and the client. Photo Lehtikuva.
The proposal is expected to be placed before the parliament in autumn after consultation. 
 
Earlier in January, the government also drafted a bill to amend the existing law with provisions for tougher actions against sexual abuse of minors.
 
The changes will include more severe penalties for rape charges ranging from one year to six years in jail, according to the draft bill.
 
In case of child sex abuse, the penal scale for aggravated rape will be tightened more with the minimum sentence of four months and a maximum of four years.
 
Currently, the maximum sentence for such charges is three years’ imprisonment.
 
With the new law, sexual transgression against minors will be defined as aggravated rape. In practice, this means the minimum penalty will rise to two years in jail. 
 
The legal amendments are likely to increase the number of prisoners. 
 
In recent years, some 30 to 40 rape-offenders have been unconditionally imprisoned.
 
The average penalty for rape was about two years’ unconditional imprisonment and five years’ for aggravated rape charges.
 
 
 
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