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Big Sister Watches Buyers of Prostitution in Iceland

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Big Sister Watches Buyers of Prostitution in Iceland

A new underground movement called “Stóra systir” (“Big Sister”) has handed over a list to the Reykjavík Metropolitan Police containing 56 names, 117 telephone numbers and 29 emails of men who expressed interest in purchasing the services of prostitutes through the websites einkamal.is, mypurplerabbit.com, raudatorgid.is and classified ads offering “massages” in daily newspaper Fréttabladid.

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The photo is not related to the story. By Páll Stefánsson.

The movement made its intention known, that Icelandic legislation on prostitution and human trafficking are followed (where the buyer of prostitution but not the prostitute can be prosecuted), at a press conference at Idnó in Reykjavík yesterday where its spokespersons wore cloaks, hoods and masks to remain anonymous, Morgunbladid reports.

The Big Sisters said the list is the result of three weeks of investigative work. They decided to take matters into their own hands after police authorities claimed they neither had the funds nor the manpower to fight prostitution which they conclude is clearly thriving in Iceland in spite of it being illegal.

“We advertised at einkamal.is and in the massage columns of the papers and in the beginning it was just to check the reaction,” one spokesperson said. “The demand proved extensive and so we expanded into Rauda Torgid and Purple Rabbit, for example.”

One night a few of the movement’s members all logged into einkamal.is and asked their respondents to meet them outside an ATM in Mjódd in Reykjavík. They were supposed to identify themselves by carrying a copy of Fréttabladid. They wouldn’t say whether they observed the respondents arriving at the meeting place.

They actually played the same game at yesterday’s press conference, announcing that a “model agency” was having a party at the same time and place. At least one man responded asking whether he could buy a girl at the party.

The Big Sisters say that even though the buyers of prostitution try to hide their identities their computer skills vary and it is usually easy to find out who they are.

“We are good at what we do and we have assistants, for example women who have been involved in prostitution,” they said, explaining that they teach them the industry’s lingo.

At the press conference a few conversations between the movement’s members and buyers of prostitutions were played. One was between a 48-year-old man and a woman whom he took to be 15, which made him all the more interested in buying her services.

The movement is demanding various actions, first and foremost that laws are complied with, but also shutting down einkamal.is, as well as porn clubs, and that the publication of ads for prostitution in the media in all forms be stopped.

No one is safe now, Big Sister is everywhere, one spokesperson warned.

Click here to read a summary of the latest debates on prostitution.

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