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Demand for Prostitution in Iceland

In less than 24 hours, 95 men and two women replied to an ad posted by the news room of visir.is on dating website einkamal.is, which looked like it had been posted by a 19-year-old woman offering “erotic massage” and other services.

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

A news crew made an appointment to meet five of those interested in purchasing the woman’s sexual services. Two showed up, a man in his forties and another in his seventies. They were willing to pay between ISK 10,000 and 35,000 (USD 80 and 279, EUR 54 and 174) for sexual intercourse, visir.is reports.

Prostitution isn’t illegal in Iceland. However, it is illegal to benefit financially from it, to purchase sexual services and to advertise such services.

Margrét Steinarsdóttir, a board member of Stígamót, the Icelandic Counseling and Information Center for Survivors of Sexual Violence, said it is common for prostitution to be advertised on websites like einkamal.is.

Steinarsdóttir calls for the closing of such websites. “In my mind it is illegal. Someone must take responsibility […] to ensure that illegal activities aren’t taking place.”

More than six months have passed since laws were passed that prohibit the purchase of sexual services, yet no one has been charged. In Steinarsdóttir’s view, the legislation wasn’t followed-up properly.

“We have laws now that prohibit purchase of sexual services and we have to make people understand that if they respond to such ads they are in breach of the law,” Steinarsdóttir said.

Representatives of einkamal.is said that there is limited supervision for the website during weekends. However, cooperation with the police is good and ads are removed if suspicion arises that prostitution is being advertised.

An extensive human trafficking case, where detainees are suspected of forcing individuals into prostitution in Iceland, is currently being investigated.

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