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Prostitutes Fume as Norway Bids to Criminalise Sex Purchases



But critics of the law argue it will make sex workers more vulnerable.

"The girls will have to rely more on pimps than before to get clients," Janni Wintherbauer, leader of the Organisation for the Interests of Prostitutes and a sex worker herself, told AFP.

"The pimps will organise everything: the flat where they live, the choice of clients, and how much money they get," she said.

"In the street, the girls can choose who they go with. If they don't like the look of a client, they can say no. In a flat, they can't. And the client will have paid the pimp already, whereas in the street, it's the girl who gets the money first," explained Wintherbauer.

She fears there will be more rapes and attacks on prostitutes.

"The client will think 'I've already broken the law, I've got nothing to lose.' And in a flat, a girl will be alone" where no one would be able to help her," she added.

The planned law is modelled on legislation passed in 1999 in neighbouring Sweden. There, men who buy sex face six months in jail or a fine, set in proportion to their income.

No one has yet gone to prison for the offence, but one person was fined 50,000 Swedish kronor (5,455 euros, 7,535 dollars), according to police.

"The law has been very good," said Karin Svedlund, a detective inspector at the Swedish National Criminal Police.

"It's more difficult for buyers to buy sex and it's harder for traffickers to work in Sweden," she told AFP.

Prostitutes' support groups in Sweden also appear more supportive of criminalising sex purchases than their Norwegian counterparts.

"The law has helped us in our work," said Jonas Flink, a social worker at the Prostitution Group, a help centre for sex workers in Gothenburg, Sweden's second largest city.

"We can focus solely on indoor prostitution, which covers most prostitution, whe
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