Steinunn Gyðu- og Guðjónsdóttir, who runs a shelter for former prostitutes, says that the new champagne clubs in Reykjavík, as described by Fréttablaðið yesterday, “bear many of the signs of trafficking.”Archive photo: Páll Stefánsson/Iceland Review.
As reported earlier, a journalist at the paper described seeing five women of foreign origin dressed in underwear at one of the clubs. At the other, the reporter spoke with several women who said they were from Slovenia. The women told him that they had only recently moved to Iceland, did not speak much English and lived together in a nearby apartment. The reporter noted who he assumed to be their supervisor as the women waited for her permission before responding to questions. The reporter was then invited to go to the back area of the club, where he was told ten minutes with one of the women would cost ISK 20,000 (USD 165, EUR 126).
Björk Vilhelmsdóttir, Reykjavík City Council member for the Social Democrats, has called for a police investigation into the matter. Siv Friðleifsdóttir, first mover of the bill in 2010 to ban strip clubs in Iceland, has echoed Björk’s calls.
“Experience tells us that women who are trafficked are moved quickly between countries. They have little say in what they do,” Steinunn told Fréttablaðið, adding that interactions which suggest that one person is controlling the others could be a sign of trafficking.
Reykjavík police commissioner Stefán Eiríksson would not comment on whether the police intend to investigate the matter but that it was their role to look into such cases.
Fréttablaðið was not able to reach the club owners for comment.