Criminalisation of sex work through the criminalisation of sex workers, third parties or clients has been shown to increase violence and health risks and reduce effective access to justice and health care.
Several countries such as Sweden, Norway, France and Ireland have implemented the ‘Swedish model’ criminalising clients of sex workers. Since the implementation of this model sex workers have faced increased violence and stigma. Migrants and street-based sex workers are especially vulnerable to repressive laws.
Sex workers rights are increasingly considered and prioritised in legal reform processes on sex work and other related areas.
- Outcome 2.1: Decriminalisation of sex work is recognised by policy and lawmakers as the most evidenced-based, human rights respecting, legislative framework to regulate sex work.
- Outcome 2.2: Decriminalisation is adopted in an increasing number of countries around Europe as a means to promote the rights and safety of sex workers.
- Outcome 2.3: An increasing number of countries reject, and act to repeal, harmful sex work laws that are not rights-based (including those known as ‘Swedish Model’ laws).
Our current activities
Within its anti-trafficking programme ESWA documents and effectively communicates the injustice and harms experienced by sex workers exposed to criminalisation and punitive policing in Europe.
Through its advocacy and campaigning strategic approach ESWA works on analysing and challenging the misinformation and misleading narratives used to support the ‘Swedish Model’ of criminalisation. ESWA engages with decision makers to educate and inform them on the best, most evidenced based legal and policy frameworks to protect and realise sex workers rights. ESWA demands accountability for poor decision making, particularly in instances where sex workers are silenced, excluded or ignored in policy and law-making processes.
By working together with local sex worker-led organisations ESWA aims to strengthen the movement and build the representation and voices of sex workers in policy making spaces and discussions on criminalisation and legal reform in Europe. Together with its members ESWA develops creative campaigning and communications on legal reform in a range of countries.