2009 | Agnete Strøm

The Women’s Front of Norway has worked against prostitution for 30 years. In 2008 a law criminalizing the purchase of a sexual act was passed in Norway. This article describes the struggle and the main actors in lobbying for the law. In the 1980s, we raised awareness of prostitution and trafficking in women in a study of the pornography industry, and targeted sex tourist agencies organizing trips to the Philippines and Thailand. In the 1990s, our members in trade unions got their unions to take a stand against prostitution and against legalizing prostitution as “work”. In 2006, the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions Congress supported a law criminalizing the buyer of a sexual act; this had a strong impact on the centre-left coalition Government. We invited leaders of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women to Norway to meet parliamentarians and trade unionists, and kept up the pressure. From the start, the focus was on ensuring that the situation for women in prostitution was ameliorated. Our demands have been for better social services and job training. Street prostitution, especially in Oslo, has been curbed, and a growth in the indoor market has not been reported.