Sex Work

It is not illegal to sell sex in Norway, neither for nationals or aliens. Buying of sexual services (prostitution and live shows) is prohibited from 1.1.2009.

There are no provincial or city ordinances directly concerning sex work.  The most important legislation is in the General civil penal code. On a political level, prostitution is regarded as an unwanted, social problem. Buying of sexual service is regarded as violence towards women, though the law is gender-neutral  Prostitution is not considered to be work. Accordingly sex work is not regulated as in Holland or Germany.

The General civil penal code § 202 forbids pimping: promoting or facilitating prostitution, including advertising and renting out premises for prostitution. The ban on purchase is founded in a new amendment § 202 a. This § also applies to attempt. It is applies to Norwegians and foreigners receding in Norway buying abroad too, regardless of local legislation. According to § 203, the level of punishment for buying sex from someone under the age of 18 is higher.

 The legislation on sex work applies to everyone, regardless of nationality or legal status.  A Supreme Court decision from 1999 ruled that prostitution is not work. Migrants cannot apply for a work permit for sex work, hence one cannot be charged for unlicensed labour.

 Norway has ratified the Palermo protocol and from 2003 Norwegian Civil Penal Code has a  § 224 prohibiting Trafficking in Human Beings. It is a priority with the police to enforce this, and Norway also has an Action Plan to combat trafficking.

Exploiting and forcing anyone to prostitution is included in the trafficking provision (§224). If pimping or trafficking is found to be part of organized crime the punishment may be doubled (§60). 

The Act relating to Child Welfare Services: The age of sexual consent is 16. For anyone under 18 years of age, prostitution (or living among prostitutes) will be regarded as endangering the child’s growth and development, and action will be taken by child welfare authorities (this also applies to migrants). Actions can be: examinations, counselling, financial help, or placement in an institution or foster home. Civil servants have a duty to notify the authorities if they observe children/juveniles in prostitution. 

In practice:

It is impossible to register as sex worker in Norway.  Therefore one cannot apply for a work permit. 

Taxes: In principle all income is liable to taxation.  Therefore income from sex work may be taxed by estimations from the taxation authorities. This is seldom applied, but is possible according to the law.  The few sex workers who want to register as self-employed and pay taxes do so by registering as masseuses, aroma-therapists etc.  This only applies to nationals and those who have a work permit in the country.

 Criminalizing clients:In order to show that there is a new order , police has been present both at the in-door scene and in the street-prostitution areas of Norway’s 3 biggest cities during the first two months of 2009. They are not only enforcing the ban on buying, but also pimping laws, alien laws and un-resting the marked.

Clients usually have a ticket fine for breaking the law.  The first court case is expected to come up in late April 2009.

Pimping:  In order to charge pimps and unrest the marked, the police phone sex workers at the indoor-marked pretending to be a possible client.  Having an appointment they come to the premises and if sex is offered for money they identify as police and demand the name of the landlord.  Next step is to confront the landlord that they will prosecute him/her if sex work continues in the premises. The result will usually be that the sex workers are given notice to resign from the premises (hotels, private flats, massage parlours).