The Problem with Criminalizing Sex Workers’ Clients

Rights, not rescue.

That’s been the demand from sex workers around the world for decades—and yet a growing movement to abolish sex work is not listening.

Countries like Sweden, Norway, Canada, Northern Ireland, and France have made it a crime to purchase, but not sell, sexual services. This “partial” criminalization, which posits sex workers as victims and their clients as exploiters, still leads to complete harms. It forces sex work to take place underground, away from safety and services.

After just six months of partial criminalization in France, sex workers report having to work longer hours for less pay and accept clients they previously would have rejected. Now, Ireland is considering adopting a similar approach. 

Thankfully, advocates like Kate McGrew, the coordinator at Sex Workers Alliance Ireland, are making sure sex workers are heard. She and her allies advocate for labor rights and health services, which cannot be fully realized under criminalization.

As she describes in the video above, McGrew sees a future in which sex workers “live and work with dignity, free from stigma and violence.”

4 Comments

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The move on decriminalization to all sex workers by A I and UNAIDS will bring an international impact to sex workers living and working in all different cultures, believes. Sex Work can not be solved by traditions, it can neither be solved by legalities....what is the alternative ways ....?

You want to get them out of the street, just find thema better job. And remember: any job in some way is prostitution.

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