Norway to Adopt Law That Bans Purchase of Sexual Favors
Monday, December 29, 2008 11:25 AM

A new law will enter into force in Norway on 1 January 2009 prohibiting individuals from paying others for sexual favors. The law covers people residing in Norway as well as Norwegians outside the country.  According to Deputy Justice Minister Astri Aas-Hansen, the new law aims in part to curb the the demand for "human trafficking and forced prostitution." The law focuses on the buyer, rather the seller of sex, in an effort to stop trafficking and forced prostitution.

Punishment for breaking the new law is a fine, up to six months in jail, or both. The punishment is greater for crimes against minors (three years for child prostitution) or where aggravated circumstances are present.

The law will allow also the police to use wiretapping to obtain evidence.

Some people raised concerns that the new law would merely push prostitution and human trafficking underground, making it more dangerous for those selling sex.  To address this issue, the new law also contains provisions to enable individuals in prostitution to access free schooling, police assistance and chemical dependency treatment.

The independent research institute FAFO estimated that 3,000 people were engaged in prostitution across the country in 2008. Another group, the Pro Centre, estimates that there are 700 prostitutes in Oslo alone. FAFO reported that many of Norway’s prostitutes are Nigerian and Eastern European.

Compiled from: Norway to adopt law that bans purchase of sexual favours, The Earth Times, 29 December 2008; Norway prepares to punish sex purchasers, at home and abroad, AFP, 31 December 2008; New Norway law bans buying of sex, BBC News, 1 January 2009.