Iceland has passed a law to shut down all strip clubs throughout the country and ban any future establishments from opening.
Meanwhile in England tougher laws to tackle prostitution and new powers to block the opening of lap dancing clubs came into effect this month.
The landmark Icelandic legislation was passed with no votes against and only two abstentions.
Kolbrún Halldórsdóttir, the politician who first proposed the ban, firmly told the national press: “It is not acceptable that women or people in general are a product to be sold.”
Since new laws in England came into effect this month lap dancing clubs now fall under sex establishment licensing rules, making it easier for local residents to say they are “inappropriate”.
Previously lap dancing clubs were licenced under the same system as pubs and cafes.
The venues must apply to local councils for a licence, but an application can now be rejected on grounds of crime, nuisance or public safety – but not for moral reasons.
The change will be introduced in Wales and Northern Ireland at later dates.
Richard Kemp, deputy chairman of the Local Government Association, said the main concerns were with clubs near schools, churches and in suburban areas.
“The trouble is people have been coming along to councils and councillors and saying: ‘This is disgraceful what are you doing about it?’
“And the answer until today has been nothing, because we’ve had no powers to act.
“Now we’re able to take firm action against lap-dancing.”
An East London brothel was raided this month under the new laws governing sexual offences.
It is now illegal for a man to pay for sex with a woman who has been coerced into prostitution through force, deception or threats – whether he realised it or not at the time.
Three men, one aged 35 and two aged 37 were arrested on suspicion of paying for sexual services of a prostitute subjected to force, according to a Metropolitan Police spokesman.
A woman aged 25 was also arrested on suspicion of managing a brothel.
Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland, of the Metropolitan Police’s new human exploitation and organised crime command, said on 1 April: “Previously men who paid for sex in brothels were able to get off scot-free unlike kerb-crawlers.
“These raids are a warning to them.
“Men who visit brothels and pay for sex are exploiting vulnerable woman and plying a trade of abuse.
“The new legislation, enforceable from today, means that people who pay for sex in brothels can be arrested and appear before the courts, which we hope will act as a deterrent to others.”
Under an amendment to the Sexual Offences Act 2003, a man could face a maximum fine of £1000 if he is caught paying for sex with a prostitute being exploited for gain.
Courts will also be given powers to close down premises associated with certain prostitution and pornography offences.
And a new penalty for the offence of soliciting will see women required to attend meetings at which they will be helped to leave prostitution.