Norwegian Police fear that Eastern European sex workers who break the quarantine rules will spread the coronavirus infection in a market where it is difficult to track infections.
In the last couple of weeks, Oslo police have uncovered more sex sales than usual. The women often come from countries in Eastern Europe which are marked red on the epidemic map, and often fail to comply with the quarantine obligation upon entry.
Several of the women were fined, and the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) has made several deportation decisions.
“Based from experience, we know that when we come across people who sell sex, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately, there is probably a large dark number,” police attorney Andreas Meeg-Bentzen told TV 2.
So far, the police are unaware of any cases of infection among sex workers, but should infection occur, it will be difficult to detect, they said.
“We believe that those who have bought sex and become infected, will hardly disclose it to those who track the infection,” Meeg-Bentzen mused.
Lastly, the police can’t keep track of sex workers’ customer lists, which makes it even more difficult to track down the spread of infection.
In addition, the police do not get hold of the customer lists of the sex workers, which complicates the tracking work if one of them is diagnosed with an infection. According to Meeg-Bentzen, a typical prostitute is likely to have 3-4 customers a day. The sex purchase usually takes place in rental apartments around Oslo.
“We are worried about public health. This represents potential infection bombs that will help increase the total contagion in society,” he said.
Like in neighbouring Sweden, prostitution is illegal in Norway and a criminal act when sexual acts are purchased, but not when sold.
In terms of Covid-19, Norway has seen over 44,000 cases of the disease and 405 fatalities. Oslo in particular saw a spike in daily figures last week.