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Prostitution on the Rise in Iceland

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Prostitution on the Rise in Iceland

Police car

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

The number of prostitutes in Iceland has increased substantially recently, according to Inspector Snorri Birgisson, at the Reykjavík Metropolitan Police Department. That is evident, among other things, from websites where escort services are advertised, he told RÚV. The number of registrations at one website has increased five-fold in a year and a half.

Snorri believes there is a strong connection between the increased influx of tourists in the country and prostitution. This, he said, is the dark side of tourism, which must be discussed. He stated that the women involved in prostitution now come from other countries than before. This can be concluded from data and websites monitored by the police.

One website advertising escort services showed 34 women registered in Iceland a year and a half ago, but now includes 152 of them. It’s not the only website where women advertise escort services in Iceland.

Snorri explained that on a regular basis, the police contact the women advertising on the websites, explaining to them the law regarding prostitution in Iceland and what options are available for the victims of human trafficking. Following the Swedish model, selling sex is legal in Iceland, but paying for it is against the law.

According to Snorri, these women oftentimes stay in the country for only five to ten days, during which time they get between five and eight clients.

The police recently looked at the possibility of a connection between human trafficking and stag parties in Iceland. “We had heard from different directions that men purchased the services of foreign prostitutes for such parties in Iceland. But we never had any solid information or data,” Snorri said.

He admitted that more funding is needed for investigating these kinds of cases.

According to a report by the US Department of State, published in June of last year, Iceland is a destination and a transit country for women subjected to sex trafficking, and people of both sexes who are victims of labor trafficking. The report recommends that efforts be increased to fight such crimes.

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