Prostitutes back on the streets

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Just a year-and-a-half after Norway passed a law forbidding the purchase of sexual services, prostitutes are turning up on the streets of Oslo again. Police say their hands are tied.

During the past few weeks, prostitutes from Nigeria have been spotted actively seeking customers on Karl Johans Gate, the main boulevard downtown. While their numbers dramatically declined after the law went into effect, newspaper VG counted 47 on Karl Johans Gate last month.

Liv Jessen, leader of a women’s advocacy group, said similar increases in street prostitution are being seen in most Norwegian cities, and police say they can’t stop it.

That’s because the law forbids buying sex, not selling it. So unless police can catch a customer in the act of buying, they can’t issue citations.

Most of the women, meanwhile, have legal residence status in either Spain or Italy, and are therefore legally in Norway as tourists.

Views and News staff