Norway: Selling sex more dangerous after five years of sex-purchase ban

Jun 20, 2014
Legal
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1520 clients fined
400 sex flats closed
Prostitutes more likely to be victims of violence

Prostitution has become more dangerous in Norway due to the ban on the purchase of sex. Women who sell sex dare not go to the police to report violent clients, experts believe.

Norway: Selling sex dangerous after five years of sex-purchase ban

QUICK-selling sex: Sex workers on prostitute rows can no longer make an assessment of the customer before they get into the car. The picture is from last October.
Photo: MATTIS SANDBLAD, VG

Since the law against buying sex was introduced in 2009, the 1520 sex-customers have been fined by police, according to figures from the Police Directorate.

During the same period, over 400 apartments in Oslo where prostitutes live and sell sex have been closed after the landlord has been threatened with prosecution as a pimp. Thus, sex workers are put out on the street.

When the law banning the purchase of sex was introduced, the clear assumption was that it would not affect the women who sold sex. In late June, the government receives an evaluation of how the law has actually turned out.

VG has contacted the largest organizations that aid sex workers, and their conclusion is unambiguous:

The five year ban on buying sex has led to harsher violence from clients. Robbers and violent men target prostitutes. The women do not trust the police dare not go to them.

– More customers think they can do “bad things” with us, three prostitutes advised Nadheim.

* The women are afraid to report because they need to enter their address. They often share apartment with other sex workers and fear that the police will go to the apartment undercover if they state their address.

* The market is poor. The customers know that women are under economic strain and demand sex without a condom.

* The women feel that they have been criminalized by the Sale of Goods Act have a very strained relationship with the police.

– “The police are after us to take customers. The law should not go beyond the girls, but it does,” says one of the female prostitutes.

The Council has asked the police to submit reviews, and use Nadheim address.

– “We proposed this in a meeting with management at the central police station in the fall, but have not received any feedback,” reports Nadheim leader Olav Lægdene.

– “We recorded cases of violence over a period of time: More than 100 cases of violence and robbery from the customer against prostitutes were not reviewed,” he continued.

Director at PRO-center Bjorg Norli, say they have seen the result of sex-purchase law is that women who sell sex feel more insecure.

– “We are concerned that fewer women than ever wish to report the violence they suffer,” says Norli.

– “This is a very marginalized group.We also see that the assailants and robbers deliberately chooses to target prostitutes, because they know that few of them dare to report the violence,” she continues.

– Confidence in the police has long been low among those who sell sex. But over the past five years it has become even more frayed.

Administrative responsibility for PION, Astrid Renland, says that sex workers they have contact with say that they feel criminalized and chased by police.

Police have used methods such as “Operation Husløs”, where they claim to be customers map their sex sales and threatening landlords with pimping charges, says Renland.

– “Before the law came there was much talk about combating traffickers, and that the law should be preventive against buying sex without merchants were affected. But in practice it has become more insecure and less safety for sex workers,” she continues.

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Ernest Greene
Ernest Greene
6 years ago

Could anyone possibly be surprised by this? An inevitable result of social prohibitions is a rise in violence among groups who have been marginalized by the law. This monstrosity has turned women out on the street, made them subject to pimping charges for sharing an apartment with another sex worker, depressed prices and increased pressure for unsafe practices in an environment of economic hardship and generally made life miserable for those it was supposed to “help.” However, it has worked to the benefit of one particular social element: sexual predators. This law and others like have turned Northern Europe into… Read more »

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6 years ago

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