Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
It is hard to know where to start to comment, and none of us has much information about it, except Deander. So I'll stick to what I know...

I had a couple of acquaintances who are now ex-hookers. They are both  Russian, smart and funny - and of course worldy-wise. Both operated in Helsinki, now back in Russia. They never had any bad words to say about their work in Finland ie no bad experiences from their point of view - but terrible, indescribable things happened to them in Russia, both before and after Finland.

One girl still calls me now and again since I helped her kick a mild heroin addiction. She thinks I saved her life in some way - I didn't. I just knew the right people. But I am happy to have helped, and happier still that she now has a more normal but hard life in St P.

They too called what they did 'work'. They mostly worked Helsinki hotels - visiting business men etc. They said the men were OK, treated them well, and it wasn't so very much different from any weekend when a Finnish girl goes out to find someone to sleep with - except for the money.

They introduced me to a few of their friends including one who 'specialized' in disabled people. She was more of a therapist than a hooker, and could easily have been a doctor in another life.

Many years ago I brought a Thai drag show to a Helsinki night club. The 'boys' were outrageous, but a lot of fun to be with. My wife and I had some of them over to our weekend cottage several times and we laughed with our guests a lot. They were so sweet and so enthralled by a different culture. At the end of the 3 week booking we had a private party at the club for the 'boys' and their new friends. It was quite fantastic - a whole range of quite ordinary Finnish men, mostly professionals who were similarly smitten by these full of life exotic boys. It was a great party - but the last sad farewell dances brought tears to my eyes.

Love, sex and friendship are all intertwined together. They are also deeply entangled in all our lives. Few of us have really worked out how to unravel them in terms of being happy. But dignity of behaviour seems to be the key.

I try not to judge people by what they have done or what they are, if I can understand their motives. There are good people everywhere if you ignore the labels.

I know that forced prostitution and enslavery are terrible things. I do not condone them in any way, and doubt if I would find any 'good people' anywhere involved in those uncivilized activities.

In my opinion, however, foregiveness is much more than saying 'you did wrong, now you must change. Goodbye' Foregiveness is about identifying goodness and encouraging it and helping to find reasons to be 'good'. The Finnish penal system has changed very succcessfully over two decades from a punishment-based system to one of involvement, care and education, both during prison time and after it. It is humane and shows respect for life. It also saves a lot of money in the long run.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Jun 10th, 2006 at 03:19:53 PM EST

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