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Iceland Bans All Strip Clubs

Iceland has passed a law to shut down all strip clubs, making it illegal for any business to profit from the nudity of its employees.

Well, duh. It’s cold up there.

Actually, no: politician Kolbrun Halldorsdottir, who first proposed the law, said on Wednesday, “It is not acceptable that women, or people in general, are a product to be sold.” Iceland began hammering that point home last year when it passed a law effectively banning prostitution by criminalizing the purchase of sex; the strip club law is simply the next step. A big impetus for Iceland’s sex work laws are allegedly to prevent the exploitation of foreign women who come there to work as strippers or other sex workers. Icelandic police say 100 foreign women travel to the country annually to work in strip clubs; it is unclear how many of those women are trafficked.

According to London’s Guardian newspaper, a 2007 poll of Icelanders found that 82 percent of women and 57 percent of men supported the criminalization of sex work. The big question, though, is whether the ban on strip clubs (and last year’s ban on prostitution) will force these businesses underground. That would, unfortunately, prove more dangerous for women who do sex work in the first place. [Guardian UK]

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