Prostitution in Iceland

There was no visible prostitution in Iceland until the 1990s, therefore there was no legal regulation for prostitution. In the mid-90's there emerged night clubs in which women ? especially from Eastern Europe ? worked not only as barmaids and dancers, but also as prostitutes, especially in Reykjavík.

Prostitution became legal in Iceland after a new provision in the Penal Code was accepted by parliament on March 17. It is both legal to solicit sex and to buy sexual services, but it is illegal for a third party to profit from prostitution.

According to the 206th article of the Icelandic Penal Code (almenn hegningarlög), soliciting sex in Iceland was illegal until the new law was accepted, as RÚV reports.

The 206th article stated: "Anyone engaging in prostitution for own upkeep shall be subject to imprisonment for up to 2 years." That paragraph has now been deleted.

The government argues most people who solicit sex do so because they have no other choice or because they are forced into prostitution by others.

By making soliciting sex legal, the government believes individuals who have been forced into prostitution would rather come forward and lead police to those responsible.

Buying sexual services was legal in Iceland before the adoption of the new law provision, and that remains unchanged.


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