Data tsar blocks Oslo prostitute register
A plan to protect Oslo prostitutes by building a database of their customers has been dropped after Norway's Data Protection Agency ruled it would violate people's privacy.
Prosentret, a help group for women and men who sell sex, proposed the scheme earlier this year after a database set up in Copenhagen succeeded in protecting sex-workers against violent and abusive customers.
Bjørg Norli, director of Prosentret, said that she was "not surprised" that the scheme had been rejected.
"The problem is that buying sex in Norway is illegal. We would have been keeping a register of criminals, which the police would have been able to demand access to."
Prosentret proposed handing out cards to sex-workers with a mobile number that they could ring or text before meeting a customer.
They would then inform Prosentret of the mobile number, address or car registration of their customer, which would then be added to a database.
"If something did happen, if the person threatened or didn't want to pay, the woman could say that she's sent information to us," Norli explained.
"They are really prone to violence and also quite severe violence, everything from attempted murder to being thrown out of a car, and threatened with knives and guns," she continued.
"They are beaten up, raped, kidnapped and not allowed out of the house. At least 50 percent of the women who took part in one of our surveys have experienced violence."
A similar scheme has been successfully established by Copenhagen's Gadujurister (street lawyers) organisation.