And the prize for the first stupid bit of legislation to come into law in 2009 goes to… Norway. As of today, any Norwegian citizen caught paying for sex faces a jail sentence starting at 6 months and rising to 3 years if it’s child prostitution.
It’s not limited to the “purchase” of sex within Norway either. Police have been granted the power to use wire taps to gather evidence against anyone they think could have used a prostitute anywhere. The number of prostitutes in known areas of Norway have visibly fallen already, which is no surprise.
However, the government’s statement that they’re targeting the “customer” not the prostitute rings rather hollow. Of course, prostitutes can’t be locked up under this law but their livelihood is being taken away. Isn’t that targetting them? Oh, and the little “bleeding heart” statement that drug and alcohol dependency issues of prostitutes can be helped if they go to free clinics is pointless.
Let’s face it. If someone’s become a prostitute because they’re addicted to crack, what course of action are they going to take now that they can’t get money from sex? Will they walk up to a clinic and ask for help? I seriously doubt it. They’ll either drop dead because they can’t get a fix, get abused by the people they can no longer pay off, or find another way to satisfy the craving – such as mugging, theft and so on.
In the meantime, by trying to reduce sex tourism the Norwegian government have unwittingly opened their own borders to a world of people who now know that prostitutes in Oslo will now be forced to charge discount rates. And as the law only applies to Norwegian citizens, any person from a company without similar ludicrous laws can hop over the border safe in the knowledge that they can’t be arrested for banging some hot (drug-addled, lice-ridden) Norwegian whore.
Oh, and the maximum 3-year penalty for using child prostitutes is far too lenient. By all means target the paedos, but do it properly and leave the consenting adults out of it. Why can’t more countries go down the Dutch or Kiwi routes of recognising and regulating prostitution as a valid industry? Taxable, monitorable, and relatively easy to make safe for all those involved.
Before anyone asks – nope. Using a prostitute is still one of the (few) boxes I can’t tick on a purity test. I’ve been to places where I could easily have bought myself 20 minutes for a fistful of Euros (Frankfurt‘s got some pretty attractive South American and Eastern European girls available), but it just doesn’t appeal. I just think that if a consenting adult wants to sell themselves and someone else wants to pay for the service then the only duty a government has is to ensure that both parties are safe, healthy and that tax revenue is raised from it.