Norway’s Sex Trade Law evaluated

Four years after passing a Sex Trade Law, Norway has begun evaluating its efficacy. The results are striking and positive and appear to indicate a significant reduction in the demand for prostitutes.

The Norwegian legislation against buying sex went active January 1 of 2009 – the reason being that the then current Norwegian Government wanted to take action against trafficking. The critics’ raised voices were due to the belief that a sex trade prohibition would force prostitution ”underground” and that prostitutes would be more susceptible to violence. So how did it go?

The new Government which came to power in 2013 has suggested a more lenient legislation, with reservations that such an alteration should be based on the outcome of the above mentioned evaluation. Vista Analysis was assigned by the Government to produce a report regarding the efficacy of the legislation. The 200 page report is based on six months of surveys and interviews with male and female prostitutes and with authorities and support organizations – the results are striking.

Norway’s legislation against sex trade has effectively reduced trafficking in the nation. The report also shows that street prostitution in Oslo has dropped between 35 to 60 percent compared to before the introduction of the legislation, whereas other prostitution has dropped by 10 to 20 percent. Furthermore, there have been no reports of an increase in violence against prostitutes.

A legislation against sex trade combined with the legislation against trafficking and pimping is stated as the reason for this result; it makes Norway less attractive for prostitution-based trafficking.

”The report clearly shows that the law has contributed in reducing prostitution demand and volume in Norway, which is exactly what the legislation was designed to do,” says Steinar Stroem, professor at Oslo University and one of the writers of the report.

Click here to read the entire report (in Norwegian).