Defending sex workers and raising the rainbow colours

Pro-tukipiste supports people working in the sex and erotic sectors, as well as victims of human trafficking, and defends their human rights. In honour of its 30th anniversary, the organisation wanted to revisit the cornerstones of all its communication.

Why was the work done?

Sex work is not illegal in Finland. However, there are many loopholes in legislation that endanger the safety of sex workers and victims of human trafficking. For example, mere suspicion of sex work may lead to the deportation of a foreigner. There is also a stigma associated with sex work, which can prevent people from getting help.

Pro-tukipiste’s communication is challenging, since the organisation has a wide variety of goals and target groups. On the one hand, it provides low-threshold services and support to a very diverse group of people working in the sex and erotic sectors. On the other, it aims to influence legislation and authorities’ practices. 

In honour of its 30th anniversary, Pro-tukipiste wanted to clarify and unify its communication and highlight the diversity of its clients better than before. In addition, it sought solutions on how communication and influence can be enhanced in a small organisation and how to involve an even larger group within the organisation in it.

What did we do?

We limited the work to two projects: creating a communication strategy and renewing the visual identity. The organisation’s graphic materials were also renewed based on the new identity.

What was unique about the work was that the organisation’s target groups are very diverse. In addition, clients are guaranteed complete anonymity. We ensured the anonymity and involvement of sex workers by interviewing clients online anonymously. The identity of the clients was only known to Pro-tukipiste. The photos we took don’t show any Pro-tukipiste clients.

In formulating the core messages, we carefully considered what words are used to talk about different groups of people and, for example, human trafficking crimes. The challenge was to use clear and understandable but precise language. 

Most of us think we know one thing or another about sex work, becase we have sometimes had sex or watched movies. The most challenging thing was to get past one-dimensional stereotypes, but at the same time keep the communication clear enough.

Mervi Itkonen, senior communications specialist, Kaskas

Diversity and inclusion also guided the visual identity renewal and image design. The colour red was kept from the old look due to its recognisability. Other shades of the rainbow were included in the colour palette to highlight the diversity. The red umbrella on the logo is an international symbol of sex workers’ rights. 

The strategy work in the spring coincided with the coronavirus pandemic, which left many sex workers in need and Pro-tukipiste’s phone lines were constantly ringing. Some of the workshops were replaced by interviews, part of which were held online. In addition, the new government programme changed the priorities of anti-human trafficking work in particular, and the organisation also renewed its overall strategy.

In the midst of all the turmoil, the communication strategy was completed in spring 2020. 

Communication has become commonplace through the joint strategy process. There is a widely shared understanding that communication is present in everyone’s work every day, without everyone having to be a communication expert.

Jaana Kauppinen, executive director, Pro-tukipiste

How did it go?

The communication strategy along with its core messages has facilitated the day-to-day work of Pro-tukipiste. Thanks to a clear strategy and core messages, even a small organisation can communicate to different target groups in a unified manner.

The new, colourful visual identity has been a success with both employees and clients. The versatile communication materials, such as brochure and report templates, make work more efficient in the hustle and bustle of the organisation.

The organisation’s website will be updated to reflect the new look during 2021.

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