Stígamót, an organisation based in Reykjavik, Iceland that campaigns against sexual violence has been awarded this year’s special prize for innovative feminist campaigning. Last year it successfully campaigned to criminalise the purchasing of women in prostitution, and this year it brought about a ban on strip clubs. The ban on commercial sexual activity is not only supported by feminists but also much of the population. A recent poll found that 82% of women and 57% of men support the criminalisation of paying for sex — either in brothels or lap dance clubs — and fewer than 10% of Icelanders were opposed.
A representative of Stígamót, Guðrún Jónsdóttir, says the ban on lap dance clubs could mean the death of the sex industry. “Last year we passed a law against the purchase of sex, recently introduced an action plan on trafficking of women, and now we have shut down the strip clubs. The Nordic countries are leading the way on women’s equality, recognising women as equal citizens rather than commodities for sale.”