Prostitutes have become more brazen than ever in Norway’s capital, with many aggressively peddling their wares on Oslo’s main streets and around key tourist attractions. Politicians are quarreling over whether to finally make the trade illegal.
One prostitute was noisily trying to sell her services inside this store on Karl Johans Gate, just behind the Norwegian Parliament Building.
PHOTO: MORTEN ANDERSEN
Many of the prostitutes on Oslo’s streets are from overseas, and they’re also active in the area just behind the historic Akershus Fortress.
PHOTO: Bjørke Magnus Knutsen
Tor Sannerud of the Oslo visitors’ bureau is among those calling for a crackdown on street prostitution in Oslo.
PHOTO: TOM A KOLSTAD
Prostitution currently remains legal in Norway, but sellers of sexual services traditionally have stuck to specific areas of downtown and let customers approach them.
A recent influx of prostitutes from eastern Europe, Nigeria and South America has changed all that, and now prostitutes are openly going after potential customers, most notably on Karl Johans Gate, Oslo’s main boulevard through the heart of town.
Aftenposten.no reported on Tuesday that some also have been aggressively selling their services inside local stores, including the 7-Eleven convenience store on Karl Johans Gate at the square called Egertorget.
Officials at 7-Eleven pressed charges, and one prostitute was recently convicted of disturbing the peace after she allegedly yelled at the store’s lone employee and made threats after being told to leave.
Visitors to Oslo have also been complaining about the aggressive prostitution on downtown streets, and the head of the city’s visitors’ bureau is among those calling for a crackdown.
Both the Socialist Left and Center parties, which make up part of Norway’s center-left government coalition, now want such solicitation to be illegal. Polticians from their dominant government partner, the Labour Party, are expected to debate the issue at their annual convention later this week.
Politicians disagree over whether the solicitation or the purchase of sexual services should be made illegal. One proposal calls for making the purchase of sexual services a criminal offense. That would hit the person buying a prostitute’s services, not the prostitute.
Oslo’s city council, meanwhile, has approved a measure prohibiting “aggressive prostitution” (pågående prostitusjon). Store owners and irritated targets of the prostitutes expect the measure to be enforced.
By Nina Berglund
Lifted and published by African Press in Norway, apn,