Iceland to Ban Stripping and Prostitution

(Icelandic Review, March 18, 2009)

 

Minister of Social Affairs
 
Ásta Ragnheidur Jóhannesdóttir presented an action plan against human
trafficking yesterday, which includes placing bans on operating strip clubs and
purchasing sexual services.

 

It is hoped that the ban will take effect before
the parliamentary elections on April 25. 

“Human trafficking is the most disgusting form of
international and organized crime that exists in the world,” Jóhannesdóttir said
while presenting the 25-point action plan, Fréttabladid reports.

In 2007, with an amendment to existing legislation,
prostitution was legalized in Iceland as long as a third party doesn’t profit from
it.

After Jóhannesdóttir presented the action plan, MP
for the Left-Greens Atli Gíslason presented a bill on banning the purchase of
sexual services, which is backed by other MPs from the government parties and
the Progressive Party.

“A complete victory has been achieved after many
years of fighting by women’s rights organization and other social
organizations—and no less by MPs who have often submitted bills on this topic to
Althingi [the parliament],” Jóhannesdóttir said. “I’m one of them and so this
day is an especially happy day for me.”

The new bill will not criminalize the solicitation
of sex, which Jóhannesdóttir described as the “Swedish approach” to combating
human trafficking.
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