Inspector Rune Sohlberg Swahn at the organised crime division of the Oslo Police told Norway's state broadcaster NRK that the city’s police had been occupied by several big human trafficking cases, leaving less manpower for ordinary prostitution cases.
“There are natural fluctuations as the police prioritise their tasks to fit the allocated resources,” Swahn said. “When we put in a lot of resources into certain cases over a period, other figures go down.”
”When police are dealing with criminal cases involving serious human trafficking with several victims involved, it is important that we put a lot of resources into a good and rapid investigation”.
Norway’s prostitution law criminalises buying sex but not selling it, in an attempt to lift the stigma facing by many sex workers.
The law, introduced in 2009, caused political controversy with both the Conservative and Progress parties strongly opposing it.
Bjørg Norli, Chairman of Prosenteret, an outreach organisation for sex workers, is critical of the ban.
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“The law is largely about symbolic politics in a politically heated situation,” she said. “Determination to enforce the law goes down as politicians focus on other issues.
Supporters of the law point to a report commissioned by the Ministry of Justice, which points to a 20-25% drop in prostitution as a direct result of the law.