The editor of Fréttablaðið says that his paper had, on several occasions, attempted to draw police attention to suspicious ads for “whole body massage” in their paper, without a response.
Ólafur Þ. Stephensen, the editor of Fréttablaðið, has been criticised by the Feminist Society of Iceland for running classified ads that are fairly clearly fronts for prostitution. The police have hinted that the paper may be partially culpable. Rape crisis prevention centre Stígamót said they have confirmed that the people behind the ads in question are offering prostitutes.
Ólafur initially responded by saying that it was not illegal to advertise massages, and his paper was not in the position to investigate who may have been behind the ads. Speaking on the radio yesterday, he elaborated further.
Fréttablaðið has decided to cease running these ads, he said. His paper had on several occasions sent the contact information of the people who had placed these ads to the police, the first occasion being in 2009. Ólafur says they have never received a response from the police, and therefore finds it strange that they would now say his paper may share partial blame for what the ads offer.
The publishers of the paper will be meeting with the police and Stígamót to discuss the matter further. Stígamót’s director of the shelter for survivors of prostitution and human trafficking, Steinunn Gyðu- og Guðjónsdóttir, says that prostitution continues to be advertised in many places, such as on dating sites like Einkamal.is.