Iceland Criminalizes Strip Clubs

Object, a UK organization, has kindly given us permission to reprint the following bulletin from their Stripping the Illusion July 2009 update:

case study: Iceland

“We have now shown that we understand the connection between pornography, prostitution and human trafficking.” Gudrun Jonsdotti, spokesperson for Stigamot, an Icelandic sexual violence support center.

“A complete victory has been achieved after many years of fighting by women’s rights organization and other social organizations and no less by MPs who have often submitted bills on this topic to Althingi [the parliament]. I’m one of them and so this day is an especially happy day for me.” Ásta Ragnheidur Jóhannesdóttir, Icelandic Minister for Social Affairs.

This case study focuses on Iceland – the first country in the world to fully criminalise strip clubs. In the wake of Iceland’s financial and political crisis, Prime Minister Johanna Sigurðardottir (the world’s first LGBT country leader) was appointed in January 2009. Sigurðardottir, a former Social Affairs Minister, leads a Left-Green coalition and her government has since passed a law which which bans strip clubs and the purchase of sex acts (the sale is already decriminalised).This is a bold step which recognises the links between different forms of commercial sexual exploitation. So how did it come about?

For several years women’s organisations and human rights groups have been campaigning on this issue and puting pressure on the Government to take action. In 2002 research commissioned by the Icelandic Ministry of Justice found links between strip clubs and prostitution in Reykjavik and the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance later reported that women were being trafficked into the industry. Local police also found that most of the North American women working in Icelandic strip clubs had been trafficked into the country by the Adventure Dance Agency, a “business entirely controlled by the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang in North America,” according to the deputy police chief of Reykjavik at the time.

A poll undertaken in April 2009 found that 58% of Icelanders supported a ban on strip clubs and MPs frequently raised the need to take action in Parliament. It wasn’t until Sigurðardottir was voted in that this became a reality. The persistent campaigning on this issue is an inspiration to campaigners worldwide!

See also:

Stop Violence Against Women: “Iceland Bans Stripping and Prostitution” (4/21/09)

Iceland Review Online: “Iceland to Ban Stripping and Prostitution” (3/18/09)

Valley Advocate Website Announces 2008’s “Best” Adult Entertainment Club; Holsopple’s Inside Report on Stripping (explicit language)
Rather than expose this industry for what it is, the Advocate has decided to party with the exploiters and the abusers. Let editor Tom Vannah know how you feel about this.

Springfield Republican: “Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno says strip club killing gives city a ‘black eye'” (6/1/09)

Republican: “1 dead, 5 seriously injured in shooting rampage at Springfield strip club” (5/31/09)

Springfield Republican: “Man fatally shot inside strip bar” (1/22/09)
…a 22-year-old man was shot in the head while sitting at the bar at the Mardi Gras strip club downtown…

Police said Colon [the victim] had been involved in a “verbal and physical altercation with several other subjects” in the Mardi Gras about 20 minutes prior to being killed…

[Sgt. John] Delaney said police records show police have been called to the Mardi Gras a total of 30 times during business hours since July 1 and another 14 times after-hours for alarm activations…

Springfield Republican Reports on Strip Clubs and the Mafia

The Truth About Lap Dancing: A Performer Speaks Out

Carolyn McKenzie: Undercover with the Viewing Booths; Disease, Intoxicants Prevalent Among Strip Dancers (explicit language)

Former Stripper Tells Easthampton Hearing about the Life: It Stinks

Strip Poker Men’s Club: Women’s Lib to Blame for Men’s Going to Strip Clubs
There is something about the atmosphere of a Strip Club, the way in which women strut their stuff on stage and not breaking eye contact is almost an animalistic approach that not only attracts men sexually but because of the eye contact that most women have mastered to enable to do their job well, it seems to offer men what they are so desperately in need off and they haven’t been able to get from today’s modern woman, “attention”…

So there you have it, no need to feel guilty, it’s one of life’s small escapes, the last bastion of the male domain, enjoy it!

Strip Club Tips: How to Savor an Exquisite Blend of Fantasies, Lies, Exploitation and Despair (explicit language)
For a stripper’s perspective, we present a selection from 37 Stripper Rants, as posted in March to gripe site Ofuzi…

Strip Clubs: Dancers Pay to Work There

Profitable Exploits: Lap Dancing in the UK

“Waitressing, I cleaned the floors and I own a box of men’s wedding rings that I found on the floor.”

Sweden’s Prostitution Solution: Why Hasn’t Anyone Tried This Before?

Abolishing Prostitution: The Swedish Solution – An Interview with Gunilla Ekberg by the Rain and Thunder Collective

Hunt Alternatives Fund: Demand Abolition