Ethical Guidelines

For Government Employees prohibiting the Purchase and Acceptance of Sexual Services

On 17 October 2002 the Norwegian government resolved to introduce ethical guidelines for civil servants to prohibit the purchase and acceptance of sexual services.

Ethical Guidelines for Government Employees prohibiting the Purchase and Acceptance of Sexual Services

On 17 October 2002 the Norwegian government resolved to introduce ethical guidelines for civil servants to prohibit the purchase and acceptance of sexual services.

The reason for the resolution is the increasing problem posed by international prostitution and the trafficking of women and children for sexual purposes. Demand for sexual services forms part of the basis for such traffic. The ethical guidelines must be seen in light of the work being carried out in the Ministry of Justice on the Action Plan to prevent the trafficking in women and children.

The government as an employer has a responsibility for the activities and the reputation of its Civil Service, and has a responsibility to ensure that its employees do not behave in a way that is degrading to people in countries with which Norway co-operates and which Norwegians visit.

By introducing ethical guidelines for civil servants the government seeks to serve as a good example. In this way, the authorities and the government as employers seek to assume responsibility in principle to prevent people being degraded as victims of human trafficking for sexual purposes.

Ethical guidelines to prohibit the purchase and acceptance of sexual services will give a clear signal as to the ethical and moral standards senior officials and civil servants are expected to observe.

  • The purchase or acceptance of sexual services usually entails the exploitation of persons who are in a difficult situation, and women and children are particularly vulnerable. Furthermore, this kind of behaviour may easily have a negative effect on the employee’s credibility and be detrimental to the reputation of the enterprise or of Norway.
  • An employee shall not at any time behave in a manner that may violate human dignity or is liable to bring the enterprise or Norway into disrepute.
  • All civil servants who are on official business or other assignment at the Government’s expense, either in Norway or abroad, shall therefore refrain from purchasing, etc., sexual services. This also applies during the civil servant’s free time when he or she is on such business or assignment.
  • The Government, as employer, expects its employees to conform loyally to these guidelines and set strict limits for their own conduct.
  • Failure to conform to these guidelines may lead to the employer imposing disciplinary sanctions (cf. Sections 9, 14 and 15 of the Civil Service Act)
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