What is the legality of prostitution in Iceland?

Is Prostitution Legal in Iceland?

In Iceland, the act of prostitution is legal, but purchasing sexual services, operating a brothel, and pimping are all criminal offenses. This means that sex workers themselves do not face any legal penalties, but those who exploit or attempt to buy their services are subject to fines or imprisonment. This approach, known as the Nordic Model, is designed to protect sex workers while targeting those who exploit or profit from the trade.

What are the Laws and Penalties Surrounding Prostitution in Iceland?

Iceland has several laws and penalties in place that target the buyers and facilitators of prostitution. Some of these laws include:

  • Act No. 54/2009, which criminalizes the purchase of sexual services and provides penalties of fines or up to one year of imprisonment for those who buy or attempt to buy sex.
  • Act No. 60/2010, which outlaws the operation of brothels and imposes fines or imprisonment for up to two years for those who operate or promote the use of a premises for prostitution.
  • Act No. 125/2009, which criminalizes pimping and imposes penalties of up to four years of imprisonment for those who promote, facilitate, or profit from the prostitution of others.

These laws and penalties aim to reduce the demand for prostitution, discourage human trafficking, and protect the rights and well-being of sex workers.

How is Prostitution Referred to Locally in Iceland?

In Iceland, prostitution is often referred to as blekking, which translates to deception or fraud in English. This term highlights the perception of exploitation and coercion that can be associated with the trade. However, it is important to note that many sex workers in Iceland choose to enter the profession voluntarily and do not view themselves as victims.

What is the History of Prostitution in Iceland?

Prostitution has been present in Iceland for centuries, with historical records dating back to the Viking Age. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, prostitution was mainly confined to urban areas and was often associated with poverty, alcoholism, and social marginalization. In 1917, the Icelandic government enacted a law that outlawed brothels and made it illegal for women to earn a living through prostitution.

However, this law was not strictly enforced, and prostitution continued to exist in various forms throughout the 20th century. In recent decades, Iceland has seen a shift in attitudes towards sex work, with the adoption of the Nordic Model in 2009, which aims to protect the rights of sex workers and combat human trafficking.

What Government Laws and Resources are in Place Regarding Prostitution in Iceland?

The Icelandic government has implemented a number of laws and resources to address the issue of prostitution and support the well-being of sex workers. Some of these measures include:

  • The Icelandic Plan of Action on Trafficking in Human Beings: This comprehensive strategy, first adopted in 2011 and updated in 2018, aims to prevent human trafficking, protect victims, and prosecute traffickers. The plan includes measures to improve law enforcement efforts, raise public awareness, and provide support services for victims of trafficking, including those exploited in the sex trade.
  • The Prostitution Counseling Center: Established in 2007, this center provides support, counseling, and assistance to individuals involved in prostitution. The center aims to help sex workers exit the trade if they wish to do so and to improve their overall well-being.
  • Collaboration with NGOs and civil society: The Icelandic government works closely with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society groups to address the issue of prostitution and support sex workers. This includes funding and partnering with organizations that provide services and support for individuals involved in the sex trade.

Through these laws and resources, the Icelandic government aims to protect the rights and well-being of sex workers while reducing the demand for prostitution and combating human trafficking.

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