In order to improve working conditions of sex workers, the Amsterdam mayor opened a brothel that is supposed to be managed by sex workers. The new brothel, called My Red Light, occupies 14 “windows” across four buildings in Amsterdam’s red light district. About 40 sex workers will be able to operate out of the premises, which are being run by a foundation called My Red Light.
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.
According to the Hungarian legislation on misdemeanor offenses, it is prohibited to arrest someone if this means their underage children will be left without a legal guardian. Despite this regulation, SZEXE, the Hungarian sex worker organisation, reports that there are many sex workers who get drawn into a misdemeanor proceeding and are held in detention for 72 hours before their trial. While they are in detention, their children do not have a legal guardian.
On 8 April 2017 in Paris, sex workers protested the new law that criminalises clients, marking the 1-year anniversary of the introduction of the law.
SWAN members marked the International Sex Workers’ Rights Day on 3 March and the International Women's’ Day on 8 March.
An application for mobile phones was developed for sex workers in Russia. The application is called Red Umbrella (Красный Зонт) and its goal is to inform male, female and transgender sex workers about their rights, sexually transmitted infections, about the history of sex workers’ movement in Russia and in the world.
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.
Selling and buying sex was not illegal in Ireland. Communicating about sexual services in public was prohibited and third parties were criminalised. It was also illegal for sex workers to work together indoors.
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.
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.”