Decriminalization and Legalization of Prostitution

Sex work is criminalized mostly by banning the sale of sexual services and legislation prohibiting sex solicitation, sex work earnings, brothel-keeping, or the procurement of sexual services. Moreover, because of laws that criminalize same-sex sexual relations, many male and transgender sex workers face harassment, prosecution, and violence.

For non-criminal offenses such as loitering, vagrancy, and hindering traffic flow, sex workers are most often penalized. By restricting the freedom of sex workers to negotiate the use of contraceptives with clients, accessing public services such as health care, and promoting and protesting for their rights, criminalization increases the vulnerability of sex workers to abuse, extortion, and health risks.

Decriminalization of Prostitution refers to the abolition of all criminal and administrative sex work restrictions and penalties, including laws against clients and owners of brothels. It varies from legalization, which is a legislative framework defined by major regulations—many of which can restrict rights and protections, establish authorities abuse systems, and other adverse effects on sex workers.

Decriminalization of Sex Work

Decriminalization of Sex Work is related to the recognition of sex work and the defense of sex workers' rights by labor law, health and security legislation in the workplace. Sex workers will press for better working conditions when sex work is decriminalized and use the justice system to obtain redress for discrimination and violence.

Sex workers prefer to live without stigma, social isolation, or fear of abuse. Even where sex work is decriminalized, minors' prostitution and human trafficking can and should remain illegal activities.

Sex workers have campaigned for human rights that cannot be completely realized as long as criminal laws impede access to justice, health, and social care for sex workers; weaken their right to live and work and workplace security; and expose them harassment, discrimination, and unlawful detention.

Sex Workers Problems

Everyone has an opinion about how to legislate sex work (whether to legalize it, ban it or even tax it) ... but what do workers themselves think would work best? Activist Juno Mac explains four legal models that are being used around the world and shows us the model that she believes will work best to keep sex workers safe and offer greater self-determination. "If you care about gender equality or poverty or migration or public health, then sex worker rights matter to you," she says. "Make space for us in your movements." (Adult themes)