The Norwegian General Civil Penal Code is the only piece of Norwegian legislation that mentions prostitution. In the chapter on sexual offences there are three paragraphs that deal with prostitution, and in the chapter on crimes against personal liberty there is one. However, there are also other laws with restricted application that deal with prostitution.
The law says that you are allowed to sell sexual services in Norway. However, it is illegal for Norwegian citizens/people living in Norway to buy sexual services, whether in Norway or overseas. Buying sexual services is punishable with a fine and up to one year in prison.
Buying sexual services from someone under the age of 18 is punishable with a fine or up to 2 years in prison. In practice, this applies if you buy sex from someone who is 16-18 years old. If you buy sex from someone who is younger than 16, it is punishable under Sections 195 and 196 of the Norwegian General Civil Penal Code, on sexual relations with children under the age of 14 and 16 respectively.
It is illegal to earn money from other people selling sex, whether directly or indirectly, and it is illegal to advertise sexual services provided by you or by another person.
Section 315 of the Norwegian General Civil Penal Code: “The Pimping Law”
a) promotes the engagement of other persons in prostitution, or
b) lets premises on the understanding that such premises shall be used for prostitution or is grossly negligent in this respect
shall be liable to fines or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six years.
Any person who in a public announcement unambiguously offers, arranges or asks for prostitution shall be liable to fines or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months.
In this provision, prostitution means that a person engages in sexual activity or commits a sexual act with another person in return for payment.”
Section 316 of the Norwegian General Civil Penal Code: The law against buying sexual services
“Any person who
a) procures sexual intercourse or any other sexual act, for himself/herself or for another person, in return for payment or agreement to provide payment,
b) procures sexual intercourse or any other sexual act in return for another person paying or agreeing to pay, or
c) in the manner described in a) or b) above induces someone to carry out acts that are equivalent to sexual intercourse with himself/herself
shall be liable to a fine or up to 6 months’ imprisonment or both.”
If the sexual intercourse or act has been particularly humiliating in its nature, but it is not punishable under any other law, the punishment is imprisonment for a term of up to 1 year.
Section 309 of the Norwegian General Civil Penal Code: Prohibition against buying sex from anyone under the age of 18
“Any person who, in return for payment, procures sexual intercourse or any other sexual act from a person under the age of 18, shall be liable to a fine or up to 2 years’ imprisonment. Being mistaken about someone’s age does not affect criminal liability, unless diligent good faith has been shown.”
Section 257 of the Norwegian General Civil Penal Code: Prohibition against human trafficking
“Any person who by force, threats, abuse of another person’s vulnerability or other improper conduct exploits another person for the purpose of
a) prostitution or other sexual purposes,
b) forced labour or forced services, including begging,
c) military service in a foreign country, or
d) removal of any of the said person’s organs,
or who induces another person to allow himself or herself to be used for such purposes, shall be guilty of human trafficking, and shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six years.
Any person who
a) makes arrangements for such exploitation or inducement as is mentioned in the first paragraph by procuring, transporting or receiving the person concerned,
b) in any other way aids and abets such exploitation or inducement, or
c) provides payment or any other advantage in order to obtain consent to such exploitation from any person who is in a position of authority over the aggrieved party, or who receives such payment or other advantage shall be liable to the same penalty.
Any person who commits an act referred to in the first or second paragraph against a person who is under the age of 18 shall be liable to a penalty independently of any use of force or threats, abuse of a person’s vulnerability, or other improper conduct. Being mistaken about someone’s age does not affect criminal liability, unless diligent good faith has been shown.
Gross human trafficking is punishable by imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years. In deciding whether the offence is gross, particular importance shall be attached to whether the person exposed to the act was under the age of 18, whether gross violence or coercion was used or whether the act led to considerable gain.”
Section 198 of the Norwegian General Civil Penal Code: Organised crime
“If a criminal act has been committed as part of the activity of an organised criminal group, the maximum penalty laid down in the penal provision shall be increased to double its prescribed limit, but not by more than five years’ imprisonment.
An organised criminal group is here defined as an organised group of three or more persons whose main purpose is to commit an act that is punishable by imprisonment for a term of not less than three years, or whose activity largely consists of committing such acts. An increase of the maximum penalty pursuant to the present provision shall be applicable in relation to statutory provisions that give legal effect to the penalty limit, unless it is otherwise provided.”
The Planning and Building Act
Amongst other things, the Planning and Building Act sets out requirements for premises where commercial activities take place. The Act has been used to close massage parlours occupying premises that do not meet the requirements for commercial activities.
Tax and VAT
In principle, all income is taxable, including income from prostitution, but the implementation of this varies. In some cases people have been made to pay tax on their estimated earnings from prostitution. Some people have registered as self-employed, so that they can pay taxes and therefore benefit from the special rights that taxpayers have. Most services are liable to VAT in Norway.
Prostitution is not considered work in Norway. Persons with permits that allow social welfare benefits may claim economical support from NAV when not employed and lacking financial means.
It is not illegal for foreigners to sell sex in Norway, as prostitution is not considered work. Section 27 of the Immigration Act stipulates that foreigners can be deported for breaches of the peace.
The Police Act
Section 7 of the Police Act on maintaining public order and peace allows the police to intervene in order to stop breaches of the peace or when there is reason to fear such a breach.*
The Child Welfare Act
The Child Welfare Act protects and gives rights to children under the age of 18. If a child hangs around with prostitutes, this may lead to intervention under the Child Welfare Act.
All government employees have a duty to report to the child welfare authorities if they see a child who may be suffering from neglect.
The Communicable Diseases Control Act
The Communicable Diseases Control Act entitles anyone who is in Norway to preventive care, diagnosis and treatment for the relevant diseases. It does not allow collective restrictions to be imposed on persons who sell sex.
For information about laws in other European countries, visit: www.services4sexworkers.eu (logo)