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No to a clean city

The city council leader makes every effort to eliminate visible begging, prostitution and drug addiction in Oslo. In the completely wrong way.


[Friday, July 28, 2006] Over the past year, beggars from Romania and prostitutes from Nigeria have made poverty more visible in the streets of Oslo. Women who look different from the majority have made prostitution an obvious problem in the city.

the image – also because they have moved away from the areas where we have become accustomed to tolerating the problem. The beggars have come to the city in buses and used means protected Norwegians are only used to meeting on holiday trips south. The consequences are that Oslo residents and visitors are bothered by prostitution and begging. It is uncomfortable to look at and be confronted with. City council leader Erling Lae seems most bothered. Disabled groups arouse his commitment: it's too bad – and they have to go. He has already removed the drug addicts from Plata, where for years they were the first tourists they met when they came to Oslo.

These days, begging and prostitution are criminalized in Oslo. The City Council has already passed a proposal for new police statutes to be discussed by the city council this fall. In the statutes, the police have the power to dismiss or punish beggars and prostitutes in or in public places, which "disruptively disturb the ordinary calm, order or behavior". With the section on begging, the City Council plays a role in redressing the Storting's recently adopted decriminalization. And in the question of prostitution, neither whore customers nor bakers are taken, it is the prostitutes. In practice, all women with dark complexion currently on Karl Johan are now at risk of being stopped by the police. Where the boundary goes is unclear. The only thing that is certain is the goal: a clean city, with a parade street with no annoying elements.

Otherwise, we know the leader of the city council as a sympathetic, liberal and committed man, with a special heart for social policy. He should tell them that these problems cannot be solved without packages of remedies, measures against the causes and help to get them out of the situation where begging and prostitution feel necessary. The police statutes, if adopted, remove only the visible part of the problem, but do nothing about the causes. City Councilman Erling Lae should therefore rather use his renovation vibe for something else: all the crap that hurls street-wide because the city doesn't have enough garbage cans. Sign up for Rusken, Lae.

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