http://www.aftenposten.no/english/local/article1870915.eceNorway's center-left government has gone along with calls to criminalize the purchase of sexual services. "Norway shall not be a free zone for pimps and human traffickers," said Justice Minister Knut Storberget on Wednesday.
Storberget unveiled a new proposed law prohibiting the purchase of sex, punishable with up to six months in jail.
Prostitution has been legal in Norway, but government officials have grown increasingly worried about the scores of foreign prostitutes on local streets in recent years. They believe most are victims of human traffickers who have forced the women into prostitution and seize the vast majority of their earnings.
The new proposed law forbidding the purchase of sex is aimed at prostitutes' customers and alleged white slavery operations.
"This is also a wake-up call to Norwegian men who help keep human trafficking going," Storberget said.
He was personally against a law forbidding the purchase of sex, but was overruled by his own Labour Party at the last party congress. Since Labour's government partners, the Center and Socialist Left parties, already had supported such a law, Storberget had little choice but to go along.
The proposed law will now go to hearing and appears to have majority support in Parliament. If enacted, it will take effect from January 1st, with a six-month jail term for convicted offenders.