The editor of Fréttablaðið has responded to allegations that his paper prints advertisements for prostitution by saying that it is not illegal to advertise massages. Meanwhile, Stígamót has confirmed that the ads are, in fact, for prostitutes.
As reported, the ads are written in English, offering “whole body massage” or “Brazilian massage.” A spokesperson from Stígamót, speaking on an afternoon radio show on Rás 2, believes these are ads for prostitution, and that organised crime and human trafficking are involved. Björgvin G. Björgvinsson, supervisor of the sex crimes division of the police, agrees completely.
The Feminist Society of Iceland has criticised the paper for wilfully running ads for prostitution. Fréttablaðið editor Ólafur Stephensen responded that it is not illegal to advertise massages. He added that the paper is not in the position to investigate for themselves if these massage services are fronts for the sex trade.
However, Stígamót was more than happy to take on that journalistic task for themselves. Posting on Facebook, they confirm that they called the number in question under the pretence of being a potential client, were told that the women offering the services were not masseuses, and that a “happy ending” costs 25,000 ISK.
Whether or not Fréttablaðið will now investigate the ads or stop running them altogether remains to be seen.