Norway makes it a criminal offence to pay for sex
Friday, 21st November 2008. 3:29pm
By: Judy West.
The Norwegian Parliament has voted in favour of making payment for sexual
acts a criminal offence in order to protect vulnerable women and children.
The law passed with 44 votes in favour and 28 against and will come into
effect on January 1, 2009.
The legislation -- inspired by the success of neighbouring Sweden which
criminalised the purchasing of sex in 1999 – is actually rather more
robust than that of its next door neighbour, setting a new pace for
prostitution law reform.
Designed to reduce trafficking and other forms of commercial sexual
exploitation in Norway, the legislation is welcomed by many Norwegian
NGOs. Maya Brenna Nielxem, of Norwegian NGO ROSA project says “We strongly
support this law as it is of ultimate importance that society makes a
statement to the trafficking victims that we do not condone the sale and
rape of them. We hope that this will reduce the levels of trafficking and
other forms of commercial sexual exploitation in Norway. “
Norway is a country of destination for trafficking in women and children.
The majority of trafficking victims come from or through the Baltic
states, other Central and Eastern European countries, and Russia, as well
as from Latin America and Thailand. Recently Norwegian Government
authorities have expressed their awareness of the growing problem of
trafficking into the country. This week the UK Home Office announced
changes to British prostitution law, introducing the offence of paying for
sex with someone who is controlled for gain along with giving new powers
to police to close down premises where sexual exploitation is taking