“We define prostitution/human trafficking as sexual violence where the individual/or a third party accepts compensation or payment in exchange for a sexual act/acts.” (Stígamót’s definition of the term Prostitution).
Even though laws regarding punishment for prostitution were abolished with new laws in 2009, Icelanders disagree about the fact that prostitution is being practiced in the Icelandic society, cf. the “Slut Walk” which is an annual event. The walk’s aim is to protest against gender based violence against women. We can’t ignore the fact that prostitution is a part of that.
Prostitution has increased significantly in the past years, according to the Icelandic police. The police believe that a concurrence of multiple factors is to blame. The key factors are that the soliciting of prostitution is now legal, the massive increase of tourists that visit the country, the augmentation of air traffic and last, but not least, that the internet is now a common platform for prostitution operations. All of the above were not in place a few years ago.
The police believe that special clubs are operated for the sole purpose of being a part of the prostitution market. The police furthermore believe that certain housing has been rented only to satisfy demands of groups, and are so-called sex service clubs. The police think that those groups consist of foreign individuals that contact Icelandic individuals to arrange those sort of events. In some cases, foreign prostitutes are flown to the country to provide that service. The Icelandic police have a constant dialogue with Europol, when it comes to prostitution in the form of human trafficking, and keep track of the development that is taking place in that field. Recently, the Spanish police managed, with the help of Europol and Eurojust, to arrest a group of people that had set up organised prostitution. The group consisted of 24 men who had brought young women from Nigeria to Spain via Italy, where they were forced to practice prostitution.
So-called private clubs, or bars, have been operated in Iceland for some time. Since laws were changed, banning private dances in closed spaces, the number of these places has decreased. It seems that private clubs that are still operating are controlled by foreign individuals and it seems that Polish people are key players. The police believe that certain prostitution is practiced there. However, it is nearly impossible for the police to prevent these sort of practices and it can be argued that it’s mostly because of the (new) legislation.
Stígamót, an education and counselling center for survivors of sexual abuse and violence, believes that prostitution has increased significantly. That is apparent in an interview with Guðrún Jónsdóttur, spokeswoman for Stígamót, in Pressan on 24.03.2011, and by Anna, 15.9.17. In the interview she furthermore states that the foreign women seeking help at the center, do not do so until they are almost desperate. Stígamót has a cooperation with Equality Now, a global effort fighting against violence against women. However, only fourteen women turned to Stígamót because of prostitution last year, according to Stígamót’s annual report, 2017.
After a decisive and extensive study of the supply of prostitution in Iceland, which seems to be practiced mostly online, it is without a doubt that organised prostitution is being practiced here. It is in fact practiced in various forms and in various places. There are also signs that it’s practiced in certain clubs (bars) in down town Reykjavík. In order to understand how extensive and voluminous the operations are, a few of the women that advertise their services online were contacted. The services, which are advertised in a very notable manner, seems to be extremely diverse. It seem that everything that one could desire is on offer, in exchange for payment of course. What is especially interesting is that the rate for these services seems to be similar in various parts of the world. For example, this service costs approximately 25-45.000 ISK in Iceland, 200-400 Euros in Amsterdam, 6-12.0000 THB in Bangkok and 100-250 Pounds in London. Prostitutes in Amsterdam, London and Thailand were contacted when the opportunity presented itself.
Statistic from, Museum of Prostitution in Amsterdam:
42 million people working as a prostitute.
2.5 million victims of trafficking a severe from of forced prostitution.
10 million underage children are being exploited by international sex trafficking.
250.000 people work as a prostitution in Thailand alone.
90% Experience physical assault while working in prostitution.
90% of all prostitutes are dependent on a pimp.
75% have been raped at one point during their work life.
175.000.000 Euros is the annual turnover in prostitution, world wide.
Rate information from one of the web pages (http://iceland.cracker.com):
My rates in ISK are as follows: (Iceland)
1 hour: 42,000
2 hours: 78,000
3 hours: 114,000
4 hours: 144,000
8 hours: 223,000
24 hours: 433,000
Iceland has without a doubt fallen into the world view of tourism and prostitution. You could say that it’s mostly because of the aforementioned changes. The change of legislation on prostitution has undoubtedly had a lot to say in that aspect. You could also say that the service trade has limited boundaries, with the type of service being insignificant. Also, now a days it is very easy renting a apartments all over the world, and Iceland is no exception. In the light of the above-mentioned facts you could almost affirm that prostitution is here to stay in Iceland, at least if nothing is done to prevent it. The question is not if there is prostitution in Iceland but how society is going to deal with this sociological problem