Regional updates: Europe

Our members are listed on the left or you can click the red umbrellas on the map.

Regional Board Members

Nataliia Isaieva (Legalife-Ukraine), Ukraine.

Dinah de Riquet-Bons (STRASS), France.

Regional Networks

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.

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Colectivo Hetaira released the following manifesto on the 6th of February 2014.

Madrid sex workers and Colectivo Hetaira denounce the increasingly precarious conditions in which we are carrying out our work, due to regulations and laws that punish prostitutes who get their clients in the street while favoring the owners of big clubs -forcing us to work in those places where there are no laws to protect our rights, since prostitution is not recognized as work.

11th February 2014 by NSWP

Germany has formed its first professional association of sex workers to lobby and fight for the rights of sex workers as well as improve their lives and working conditions.

In an interview with Spiegel Online, Johanna Weberb, the founder of the association, said that the association caters to different sex workers working in different fields.

18th November 2013 by NSWP

The first ever wide-scale survey of indoor sex workers in Ireland has revealed a far more complex picture of who does sex work, and why, than is commonly portrayed in the Irish media, which is dominated by claims from anti-sex worker organisations - with links to the Catholic Church and the notorious Magdalene laundries.

19th September 2013 by NSWP

Sex workers of all genders and from all sectors of the industry gathered in Paris in early June to hold a national conference, organised by STRASS, in which they discussed their rights, safety, and community organising.

18th September 2013 by NSWP

Sex workers in Scotland, and sex worker-led organisation SCOT-PEP condemned the front page exposure of a sex worker in yesterday's Scottish Sun.

17th September 2013 by NSWP

'Ugly Mugs' schemes have been in many parts of the world, as a tool to warn sex workers about violent people posing as clients - but until now, there have been no such projects formally set up in Ireland, as the Irish state - influenced by various anti-sex work organisations - has never felt the need to aid sex workers in making the job safer.

6th September 2013 by NSWP

Human Rights Watch released a report on July 4,condemning the use of mandatory health examinations, isolation, and compulsory treatment in Greece, which has been reinstated into law on July 26, upon reappointment of Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis.

Health Regulation No. GY/39A, “Amendments that Concern the Restriction of Transmission of Infectious Diseases,” permits police to detain people without due process for the testing of HIV and other diseases of public health importance, focusing on certain priority groups, including anyone suspected of being a sex worker, intravenous drug users, undocumented migrants, and anyone living without “minimum standards” of hygiene, such as the homeless.

Since the bill was first introduced in April 2012, until April of this year when it was temporarily repealed, dozens of women suspected of being sex workers were forced to take HIV tests. When found positive, they were charged with the felony of “intentional grievous bodily harm,” or “attempted bodily harm” for having unprotected sex with customers.  The police and media published their photographs, HIV status, and personal information, and detained many of these women for months while they awaited trial. In March 2013, almost a full year after the crackdown, the last five of these women were acquitted by the courts, which found “no strong evidence” for charges of intentional harm.

9th July 2013 by NSWP

Press release by STRASS, French Union of Sex Workers, in English and French: on the continuing campaign to repeal the offence of soliciting.

Communiqué de presse en français suit ci-dessous.

25th March 2013 by NSWP

Two countries in the United Kingdom  - Scotland and Northern Ireland - are currently consulting on proposals to introduce legislation to criminalise the purchase of sex.

In Scotland, Rhoda Grant MSP (Labour) has launched a public consultation on her proposal for her private members bill, 'Criminalisation of the Purchase of Sex (Scotland) Bill'.  The public consultation runs until 14th December.  You can download her consultation document on the Scottish Parliament's website here.  NSWP member organisation SCOT-PEP have been campaigning vigorously against the proposals and there will be updates on their website relating to the consultation as it progresses.

In Northern Ireland, Lord (Maurice) Morrow MLA (Democratic Unionist Party) has a consultation running until 18th October on his draft Human Trafficking & Exploitation (Further Provisions & Support for Victims) Bill which he has already drafted.  His Bill includes a range of measures aimed at tackling trafficking, but most disturbingly also includes the 'introduction of a new offence of paying for the sexual services of a prostitute'More information and the consultation paper can be found on the Northern Ireland Assembly website here.

18th September 2012 by NSWP

Georgina Perry, service manager at Open Doors, a sex worker outreach service in East London has written an extensive article reproduced on The Trafficking Research Project's blog outlining her experience of the Olympics. 

Georgina writes powerfully about the damage done by the draconian anti-trafficking measures taken by the authorities, how this led to mass raids, the closure of many brothels and the destruction of relationships between services and sex workers which took years to build up. 

In summarising Georgina says:

'I’d say that we are currently picking up the pieces, and that it is going to take us a long time to restore sex worker faith in institutional support. Where once the relationship between sex worker services and clients was good, it is now broken. We are now viewed with suspicion as ‘do-gooders or enforcers’. Where once sex workers may have felt it possible to report crimes against them to the police, there is now a dangerous and distrustful environment in London with crimes going unreported for fear of unwanted repercussions.'

'The brothel closures that were deemed so important to the success of anti-trafficking measures in London have little impact when most women trafficked for sexual exploitation are sold through closed community networks and never end up in the brothels where the majority of sex work is conducted. This information is readily available, and has been for some years, and yet, like all evidence surrounding this episode, was resolutely ignored because it did not fit the inherent anti-prostitution agenda.'

Read Georgina's full article here.

18th September 2012 by NSWP