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Introduction & Navigation

A-Z guide to the situation in the Member States

Prostitutes, Pimps, Clients: defining the Sex Industry

To legalise prostitution is to deny civil and human rights

Failure to legalise prostitution is to deny civil and human rights

New Technologies and the Sex Industry

How Many Sex Workers?

Where do Europe's Sex workers come from?

What is Trafficking for the Purposes of Sexual Exploitation?

Can Legalising Prostitution bring an end to Trafficking for the Purposes of Sexual Exploitation?

Articles, Documents, Legal instruments, Pressure groups ...




This site aims to provide a useful reference to Sex Work in Europe.  It gives a brief description of the de jure and de facto situations in each of the 15 EU Member States, and drawing primarily on web resources it guides the user through the essential debates, providing up to date reference. Following the site's progression through background arguments surrounding sex work, leads to the argument that in the control of sex work lies an answer to Europe's sexual exploitation problem. 

Clicking on one of the buttons in the left-hand column will conduct you to one of the following pages. 

In Sex Industry Definitions, female, male and transgender prostitution are defined, along with 'pimp' and 'client'.  At the base of the page, you will be linked to the following page, Anti-Prostitution Arguments which outlines largely feminist arguments that prostitution represents acute subjection of women, and should in no circumstance be legalised.  Pro-Prostitution Arguments takes the other side of the debate, instead arguing that by not legalising prostitution, states are keeping sex workers marginalised and denying them their fundamental civil and human rights.  A page called Sex and Technology looks at ways in which new technologies can help or hinder  sex workers, and ways in which the sex industry drives technological development.  The following two pages, Scale of Prostitution and Prostitution and Migration attempt to assess how many prostitutes work in western Europe, and where they come from.  A large proportion of foreign women working in the sex industry have been smuggled or trafficked into the EU, two very different concepts which are outlined in Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation.  This page provides a background for Is Legalising a Cure for Trafficking? which argues that by legalising and regulating prostitution, states would gain control over the demand for trafficked migrants in the sex industry.

Also in this site are 15 pages which describe the legal status of prostitution in each of the Member States of the EU, and the situation in that country based on recent evidence.  These pages also provide information on trafficking in the EU states.  You can access them by clicking on a country below.

United Kingdom Republic of Ireland Spain Italy Greece Austria France Germany Denmark Finland Sweden Portugal Netherlands Belgium Luxembourg


Finally, there is a Links Page.  Where possible I have used online sources to research the arguments and information displayed in this website. There are links throughout the pages: as authors or documents are mentioned, a hyperlink is provided to the source in question.  In addition to these links, a country-by-country guide to organisations lobbying for sex worker rights, opposing prostitution or providing debate or information is included, totalling well over two hundred external links.  Where possible, links are to HTML documents, though some lead to documents in .doc (Word) or .pdf (Acrobat) format. Links to acrobat files will open in a new window. You can Get Acrobat Reader or Upgrade your Browser to Internet Explorer 5.5 here.


Prostitutes, Pimps, Clients: defining the Sex Industry


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