An Irish campaign group is calling for changes to police policy following the results of a new study, which shows that more than 150 sex workers have been prosecuted under brothel keeping laws over the last ten years. The same study showed that almost all of those convicted under brothel keeping laws are migrant women, and that in 90% of the cases, those involved were ‘named and shamed’ in the media.
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.
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.
Sex workers in Belgium have launched a new campaign calling for the decriminalisation of sex work, and social and legal protection for sex workers. UTSOPI is calling on the Belgian government to create statutes to protect sex workers as self-employed workers, and repeal laws on soliciting advertising and third parties.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN), a union representing nurses in the UK, has voted by "an overwhelming majority" to support lobbying for the decriminalisation of sex work at its annual conference this year.
Sex worker-led organisations and National Ugly Mugs have raised concerns following news that Sacro has been awarded more than £1 million to develop an app for sex workers in Scotland.
Finnish websites used by sex workers to advertise and share information with each other have been closed down following a judicial warrant by Spanish police. The websites, Sihteeriopisto (Secretary College) and the international counterpart, sexworknet, were launched in Finland but was maintenance was moved overseas following changes to sex work laws in Finland in 2003. Spanish police issued the warrant on 26th March, since which point the websites have been unavailable.
Sex Workers Alliance Ireland has launched a new social media campaign to highlight the impact of laws criminalising the purchase of sexual services in the Republic of Ireland, which were introduced in 2017. The campaign highlights the increase in violence documented among sex workers since the introduction of the laws, and calls on the government to decriminalise sex work to ensure safety for sex workers.
Sex workers in Scotland and across the UK have formed groups in two unions – GMB and United Voices of the World – to advocate for improved working conditions and decriminalisation of sex work. Sex workers in Scotland launched a new adult entertainment branch of GMB in February, and United Voices of the World began working with strippers and other sex workers in 2018.
Ugly Mugs, a commonly used safety app for sex workers in Ireland and the UK, is facing removal from the Android Play Store following changes to Google's permissions policy.
Spanish media has reported that the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) is drafting new legislation to criminalise the purchase of sex, known as the 'Nordic Model'.
The Spanish National Court has ruled against sex worker organisation OTRAS, who applied to be recognised as a trade union in August. On Wednesday, the National Court said recognition of sex workers in a union would ‘amount to the exploitation of prostitution’.