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.

Regional Networks

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.

Regional updates

27th March 2018 | Region: Europe

A new security application, Artemis' Umbrella, has been developed for sex workers in Finland, and can be used anywhere in the world. The app alerts a trusted contact when sex workers are in trouble, and uses location services to track the smart phone.

7th December 2017 | Region: Europe

Every year on 1st December the world marks World AIDS Day. Globally sex workers are disproportionately affected by HIV, with UNAIDS estimating prevalence among sex workers as twelve times greater than the general population. This year, SWAN (Sex Workers' Rights Advocacy Network) together with ICRSE (International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe) issued a joint statement for World AIDS Day, and SWAN members marked the day with various different events.

6th December 2017 | Region: Europe

Every year on 1st of December the world marks World AIDS Day. Globally sex workers are disproportionately affected by HIV, with UNAIDS estimating prevalence among sex workers as twelve times greater than the general population. This year, SWAN (Sex Workers' Rights Advocacy Network) together with ICRSE (International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe) issued a joint statement for World AIDS Day, and SWAN members marked the day with various different events.

9th November 2017 | Region: Europe

In their concluding observations to Russia’s sixth periodic review produced on 6 October 2017, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) recommended that Russia decriminalise sex work. This recommendation was the result of advocacy by NSWP member Silver Rose, a sex worker organisation in St. Petersburg.

28th August 2017 | Region: Europe

On 27 - 29 June 2017, NSWP members All-Ukrainian Charitable Organization Legalife-Ukraine and Tais Plus (Kyrgyzstan) took part in a meeting of sex worker-led organisations in Amsterdam. The meeting was organised by Aidsfonds. Sex workers from 11 countries attended, including participants from Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Indonesia, Vietnam, South Africa, Nigeria, Myanmar and the Netherlands.

10th August 2017 | Region: Europe

On 25 May, 2017, NSWP members Red Umbrella Athens (Greece) and Hellenic Association of People Living with HIV “Positive Voice” organised a conference on policy issues regarding sex work in Greece. It was very successful. It was the first time this topic was discussed by representatives from the government, political parties, civil society, sex workers and the scientific community.

3rd August 2017 | Region: Europe

The Global Fund is leaving Macedonia this year in June. It means that most of the services will be closed or reduced to a minimum if the government does not provide financial support. NSWP member Healthy Options Project Skopje (HOPS) started a campaign for securing sustainability of harm reduction programmes in Macedonia through various activities including a petition, meetings with Ministry of Health, press conferences, social media campaign, a video. The key focus is harm reduction programmes for people who use drugs, but they also include sex workers, MSM, and PLWHA.

26th May 2017 | Region: Europe

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.

19th April 2017 | Region: Europe

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.

17th April 2017 | Region: Europe

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.

27th March 2017 | Region: Europe

SWAN members marked the International Sex Workers’ Rights Day on 3 March and the International Women's’ Day on 8 March.

15th March 2017 | Region: Europe

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.

28th February 2017 | Region: Europe

From the 11 - 15 February 2017, NSWP member HPLGBT organised and conducted mobilisation activities for transgender sex workers and their allies in Kiev, Ukraine.

19th February 2017 | Region: Europe

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.

4th January 2017 | Region: Europe

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.