Iceland to Ban Stripping and Prostitution

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.

From the strip club Goldfinger. Photo by Páll Stefánsson. Taken in relation to Sara Blask's feature "Dancer in the Dark" published in the 2006 winter issue of Iceland Review

“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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