A new sex work law has been adopted in Ireland. The Sexual Offences Bill criminalises the purchase of sexual services and increase the penalties for indoor sex workers. Ireland has become a seventh country (after Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Northern Ireland, Canada, and France) to adopt the “Nordic Model” of criminalising the clients of sex workers.
Regional updates: Europe
Our members are listed on the left or you can click the red umbrellas on the map.
Regional Board Members
Natalia Isaieva (Legallife-Ukraine), Ukraine.
Christine (STRASS), France.
The International Committee for the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE) is a European network of sex workers and allies across Europe and Central Asia. It was formed in 2004 to organise the 2005 European Conference on Sex Work, Human Rights, Labour and Migration and is based in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
The Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network for Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (SWAN) is a network of sex workers' groups and civil society. SWAN started in 2006 as a project within Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU/TASZ) and became an independent organisation in 2012 and is based in Budapest, Hungary.
News articles from Europe region are listed below.
Michael Lodberg Olsen has launched Sexelance, a project that makes street-based sex work more safe. Sexelance is an ambulance car that can be used by street-based sex workers to see clients. Inside the car there are banners saying that the volunteers will call the police if there are signs of violence. The banners also encourage sex workers to inform the authorities if they are victims of trafficking.
Kemalita Ördek, the executive director of the Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association, a transgender sex worker and human rights activist, was violently attacked by 3 criminals in her house in Ankara in July 2015. All 3 attackers were found guilty and sentenced.
Niurkeli, a 33-year-old transgender sex worker, was murdered by a client in Nantes, France. Niurkeli was migrant sex worker of Ecuadorian origin. She was living in Paris with her family. Since 2014 her work conditions have deteriorated. “She was known in the sex worker community and often went to demos for sex workers' rights and against criminalisation,” said Thierry Schaffauser from STRASS.
Laura Lee has won High Court permission to challenge a new law criminalising clients in Northern Ireland. She will also challenge Ireland's brothel keeping laws.
In 2015, Northern Ireland adopted the “Swedish Model”, which criminalises the clients of sex workers, despite the fact that “independent research by Northern Ireland’s Department of Justice showed that no locally based sex workers surveyed supported criminalising the purchase of sex, with 61 percent believing it would make them less safe and 85 per cent saying it would not reduce sex trafficking.”
Iceland adopted the harmful “Swedish Model” in 2009, which criminalises the clients of sex workers.. There is no sex worker-led organisation or service provider for sex workers in Iceland. Stígamót - Education and Counseling Center for Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Violence - is the only organisation that provides services to sex workers. However, they consider all sex workers as victims of violence.
Violent attacks against transgender people in Turkey continue unabated.
Hande Kader, a 23-year-old transgender woman based in Istanbul, disappeared a little over one week ago.
A regional training on the SWIT (Sex Worker Implementation Tool) took place in Budapest on 21-25 June 2016. Teams from 7 countries attended the training: Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Georgia, Macedonia, Serbia. Among them were female, male and transgender sex workers.
A majority of Members of Parliament (MPs) in Holland are supporting plans to make it an offence to pay for sex if sex workers are known or suspected to be victims of human trafficking. Sex work itself is legal in Holland.