Today the European Parliament adopted with a strong majority (343 for, 139 against, 105 abstentions) a Resolution that acknowledges the violence inherent to the system of prostitution, saying that prostitution is a breach of women’s fundamental rights and contradictory to the EU Charter for Fundamental Rights. The Resolution recognises that prostitution violates human dignity and human rights, and is an obstacle to equality between women and men.

The Resolution came after the adoption of a report by the Women’s Rights Committee of the European Parliament (23 January 2014) that called for measures to reduce prostitution by criminalising sex buyers, Europe wide awareness raising campaigns and prevention strategies, especially for socially-excluded, vulnerable and poor persons. The report stressed the need to reduce prostitution and trafficking and to help victims of sexual exploitation to reintegrate again in the society. Education should play an important role in the prevention of prostitution. The best way to combat trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation is the so-called Nordic model, which criminalises sex buyers and not the prostitutes. This model views prostitution as a violation of women’s human rights and as a form of violence against women.

The Nordic model was also “voted” through in the French Parliament on 4 December 2013. Women’s Rights Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem introduced a new French Law that penalises clients of prostitution by a fine of €1,500 for a first offence. If caught a second time, the fine would be increased to €3,000. The Nordic model has proved highly successful in Scandinavia, where countries generally have a high level of gender equality and acknowledge the problems of exploitation within prostitution.


For more information:

The Honeyball report:

National Legislation on prostitution:

European Parliament Questions and answers:

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