The owners of two “champagne clubs” accused by some of prostitution and human trafficking reject the accusations against them, and plan to sue for slander.
As reported, two journalists recently went undercover to two different champagne clubs in Reykjavík, Crystal and VIP Club. Women working at the latter were mostly from Slovenia who had only been in Iceland a week, lived in the same small apartment, and appeared to need permission to speak from an on-site supervisor. Further, the reporter was told he could do “anything he wanted” with one of the women in the back room of the club for 20,000 ISK.
Both Social Democrat city councilperson Björk Vilhelmsdóttir and women’s shelter director Steinunn Gyðu- og Guðjónsdóttir expressed serious misgivings about the places, with Björk stating she believed this was a case of “pure prostitution” and Steinunn telling reporters she believed there were strong signs of human trafficking.
Vísir now reports that the clubs have lawyered up. Vilhjálmur H. Vilhjálmsson, the lawyer representing the clubs, said that there was no illegal activity going on at the clubs, and that the remarks from Björk and Steinunn have prompted a lawsuit for slander. He demands that the two take back their remarks, and apologise.
Björk, for her part, stands by her remarks, telling reporters, “I said that everything points to access to women being for sale [at these clubs]. 20,000 ISK for ten minutes with them is nothing other than prostitution. They’re not talking with these men, because they don’t speak English or Icelandic. It’s just sex service and prostitution. So I stand by my words.”
The police reportedly have visited VIP Club, taken photos, and interviewed some of the employees, although the interviews with the women working there were conducted at the club; not at a police station.