Iceland Bans Stripping and Prostitution
Tuesday, April 21, 2009 10:53 AM

On 21 April 2009, the Icelandic Parliament passed a national bill banning strip clubs and paying for sex. The Minister of Social Affairs Ásta Ragnheidur Jóhannesdóttir presented the plan and then Members of Parliament (MPs) proposed the bill which reverses the March 2007 legislation that legalized prostitution in Iceland under certain circumstances. The new act provides for punishment in the form of a fine of up to a year in prison if a person is convicted of paying for prostitution; the imprisonment term is raised to a two-year maximum if the victim is under the age of 18.

Between March 2007 and April 2009, soliciting sex was legal; buying sex was legal from an earlier point. One problem with the former legalization of stripping and prostitution has been the connection with trafficking. According to the U.S.-based Protection Project, Iceland has been a point of destination and a transit country for human trafficking. Victims often engage in stripping and prostitution. The Icelandic government has gone back and forth on its response to these issues. The 2007 legislation removed a provision of the criminal code which prohibited engaging in prostitution.

According to the Centre for Gender Equality, 70 percent of the population approved of banning prostitution.

Compiled from: Fréttir / A new law makes purchase of sex illegal in Iceland, Jafnréttisstofa, 21 April 2009; Iceland to Ban Stripping and Prostitution, Iceland Review Online, 18 March 2009; Prostitution legal in Iceland, Iceland Review Online, 27 March 2007; Iceland, Human Rights Reports, The Protection Project, last accessed 21 April 2009.