Might I just warn you that I am going to cover a topic today that's possibly not safe for work. There won't be any pictures, but following links are at your own risk. Now, if this topic offends you, I'll hope it's just a misunderstanding. Please do post your views in the comment section if you feel like it regardless. Picture not related much.
Just as I was starting to write, I was seeing an ad for a danish documentary that's going to air tomorrow on danish television named "Kussen", which translates roughly to "The Pussy". This coming up not many minutes after I just saw a news report on a politician who's going to run for the Danish Social Liberal Party, called "radikal venstre" in danish. She is getting publicity in the news because she appeared on the website http://www.sexarbejderkarriere.dk/, which to some extend advertises the danish sex workers, not to recruit new workers or to gain new customers, but to show a different view on the industry, focusing on what the workers like about their jobs, what the benefit is, and most of all how they really think it is. Essentially, it's a danish webpage that advocates sex workers rights, and the political candidate, Linda Kristiansen, is obviously one who will vouch to improve those.
Prostitution in Denmark is legal, but disputed and not really well regulated. It's not really taboo, but it's not far from it when you think that Denmark is a country that takes pride in free thinking and open-mindedness.
Prostitution is however illegal in the countries of our scandinavian neighbours, Sweden and Norway, who bear great similarities to Denmark and of course, great influence.
Another significantly influential neighbour, Germany, has a well-developed rights systems, so influence can go both ways.
There's still a lot of stigma around the industry in Denmark. Especially socially conservative people will be very critical towards it and associates it with human trafficking. We still have our share of feminists, although it's mostly the socially conservatives that are still holding on to the old times. Of course these are exactly the ones who will be the biggest critics of prostitution and there are people who try to recriminalize it or at the least restrict.
During the Copenhagen Climate Conference of 2009, the city council of Copenhagen lead by Ritt Bjerregaard of the danish Social Democrats asked hotel owners to hand out post cards discouraging the participants of the conference from buying sex. They pointed out that the conference would increase the demand for sex services and wanted to diminish this effect.
The post card read "Vær bæredygtig: Køb ikke sex!", meaning "Be sustainable: Don't buy sex!"
The organisation that maintains the interests of the danish sex-workers responded to this by making a survey asking prostitutes and escort-bureaus if this was true, which would conclude the politicians assumptions to be false. Angered by this discriminating accusation that the sex business should be "unsustainable", the prostitutes made an offer for attendants to the climate conference that they could bring one of those post-cards and use as payment for sex.
And mind you, pimping and brothels are illegal in Denmark, so most prostitutes work individually to some extent.
Now, Denmark is probably far from the only country with this kind of situation, but I find it very interesting none the less. While it's really a minor part of society, I think the stance it takes does say a lot about a nation.
It's funny how we can have so much attention, even generally accepted, on sex and genitals and what not, with both poetry, imagery, pornography and lots of scientific stuff too, and those are all things that can be discussed openly and even be aired on a public service channel. As long as there's money to be earned and entertainment of the masses it's all for a good cause, yet when it comes to the exchange of money with sex, between two people, that doesn't affect or concern anyone else, the general populace can't seem to be able to make up its mind if it's okay or not. Probably most people don't even care. A shame, because it's such an interesting discussion, don't you think?