Sex Work Law - Countries

Afghanistan

  • Although the law does not directly address prostitution people who buy or sell sex may be charged under Article 427 of the Penal Code 1976 which criminalises 'unlawful sexual relations.'
  • Courts may also impose punishments on any participants in commercial sex under Hanafi principles of sharia law
  • Enforcement is sporadic with periodic police crackdowns on migrant sex workers in Kabul's brothels and there have been reports of hundreds of sex workers being imprisoned each year for unlawful sexual relations.
  • STI and HIV testing are officially voluntary.
Legal Approach(es)
  • G: The law against prostitution is expressed as a law against 'debauchery', 'immorality' or other such term. (eg Zambia)
Characteristics:
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Algeria

The Criminal Code of Algeria makes it illegal to soliciting to sell sex and to aid, assist or protect the prostitution of others; to share the profits of a person who is regularly engaged in prostitution; to live with a person who is regularly engaged in prostitution; and to procuring a person for prostitution.

The code also prohibits keeping, managing, causing to operate, financing, or contributing to the financing of an establishment for the purpose of prostitution.

Penalties increase when the offence is committed against a minor under the age of 18 or when accompanied by threats, duress, violence, assault, abuse of authority, or fraud and in cases of international trafficking for the purposes of prostitution when the “victims of the offence are delivered into prostitution outside the Algerian territory.”

HIV testing is officially voluntary.

Buying sex is not illegal except insofar as it violates Sharia law.

Legal Approach(es)
  • D: It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Argentina)
Characteristics:
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Antigua and Barbuda

The Antigua and Barbuda Sexual Offences Act 1995 makes it illegal to knowingly live off the earning of a prostitute and to manage or act or assist in the management of a brothel which includes being the tenant or occupier who knowingly permits the premises to be used for the purposes of prostitution.
Procuring a person for prostitution, whether or not that person is already a prostitute or an ‘inmate of a brothel’, either in Antigua and Barbuda or elsewhere is illegal. This applies where a person is proved to live with, or to be habitually in the company of, a prostitute, or is proved to have exercised control, direction, or influence over the movements of a prostitute
It is illegal to solicit for ‘immoral purposes’ to the annoyance of the public and to loiter or be in any public place for the purpose of prostitution.
It is also illegal for men to persistently solicit or importune for immoral purposes in public.
An extra provision makes it illegal to be a ‘common prostitute wandering in the public streets or public highways, or in any place of public resort and behaving in a riotous or indecent manner’.The law applies to both men and women who sell sex. Additionally Section 12. (1) which makes ‘buggery’ illegal is used for against transgender and male sex workers.
The Immigration And Passport Act (1946.) prohibits from entering the country any person who is reasonably believed to have come to Antigua and Barbuda for any immoral purpose, or who, being a woman or girl, is reasonably believed to be a prostitute or to have come to Antigua and Barbuda for the purpose of prostitution.
HIV testing is officially voluntary and confidential.

Legal Approach(es)
  • J: It is illegal to solicit to buy or sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place (eg UK, Fiji)
Characteristics:
  • 6: The law is gender neutral so may be applied to men who sell sex.
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Argentina

<ul><li>It is illegal to operate a brothel, to organize prostitution and to live off the earnings of prostitution.
<ul><li>Soliciting to sell sex is illegal within 500 meters of a school, church or residence.</li><li>Laws against 'offensive or scandalous public behaviour' are used to charge sex workers.</li><li>Sex workers claim that&nbsp;they are subject to corrupt and violent law enforcement and they are frequently confused with human trafficking victims.Being neither fully prohibited or permitted means that sex workers lack labour and civil rights. &nbsp;</li><li>Buying sex is not illegal.</li><li>STI and HIV testing is officially voluntary and confidential.</li></ul>

Legal Approach(es)
  • D: It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Argentina)
Characteristics:
  • 1: There are laws or regulations that require sex workers to undergo medical examination (e.g. Latvia)
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Armenia

Legal Approach(es)
Characteristics:

Australia

  • Australia is a federal system made up of eight jurisdictions that have the power to create sex work law. Like other federations the laws are diverse and complex. 
  • In the Australian Capital Territory Prostitution Act 1992 soliciting to sell sex and organizing commercial sex are illegal except where a permit has been issued to a sole operator or brothel. 
  • In New South Wales the Disorderly Houses Amendment Act 1995  require brothels to gain local government consent. Working as a sole operator is legal but subject to local government planning requirements. Use of premises as brothels is regulated by local government under the development control provisions of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.693 Street soliciting is illegal in some circumstances. 
  • In the Northern Territory Prostitution Regulation Act. Sex work is legal if delivered as part of a licensed escort service. Street sex work and soliciting are illegal. Brothels are illegal. 
  • The Queensland most forms of sex work are offenses under the Quuensland Criminal code. The Prostitution Act 1999 creates exceptions to that and provides for licensed brothels. To work in a licensed brothel, a sex worker needs a current sexual health certificate. Private sex workers (sole operators) are allowed to work by themselves. 
  • In South Australia Summary Offences Act 1953; Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1976 makes brothel, receiving money from prostitution, soliciting and procuring illegal. Laws are rarely enforced. 
  • In Tasmania Sex Industry Offences Act 2005 Brothels and street-based sex work are illegal. Laws are rarely enforced. Private sex work is legal if no more than two sex workers work together. 
  • The Western Australia Prostitution Act 2000, Criminal Code 1892 contains laws against brothels although police allow brothels to operate in prescribed areas.
  • In Victoria licensed brothels and licensed escort agencies are legal if they comply with the Prostitution Control Act 1994. Advertising is restricted and private or freelance sex workers must register to work from their homes or provide a visiting service.  HIV and STI testing are mandatory.  Licensed brothels are responsible for ensuring that every employee has been tested for HIV and STIs. A regulation prohibits registered sex workers from associating with each other. Soliciting to sell sex is illegal.   
  • Buying sex is not illegal although men who solicit in the streets can be charged with public order offences.   
Legal Approach(es)
  • D: It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Argentina)
  • H: It is illegal to sell sex and organise commercial sex except where permission is given by a licensing authority that applies conditions such as health provisions and restrictions on how and where the person or business can operate (eg Senegal)
  • I: It is illegal to organise and to sell sexual services except within specific buildings or zones, or away from designated buildings and zones. (eg Switzerland)
Characteristics:
  • 1: There are laws or regulations that require sex workers to undergo medical examination (e.g. Latvia)
  • 6: The law is gender neutral so may be applied to men who sell sex.
  • 7: Different state or district level governments within one country can make rules on sex work so they are not uniform throughout the country. (e.g. Australia)
  • 9: There are laws to prevent women living with HIV from selling sex or requiring them to disclose their HIV status to clients (e.g. USA)

Bahamas

It is illegal to knowingly live on the earnings of prostitution, to operate a brothel and to procure a person for prostitution whether the person is willing or not.
Where any person is in a brothel or other premises for the purpose of unlawful sexual intercourse they are deemed to have been detained if their clothes have been withheld or if drugs have been supplied.
Persistently soliciting or importuning for immoral purposes in any public place is illegal. This can apply to both buying and selling sex.
Same sex and heterosexual intercourse is illegal in a public place.
People who are reasonably believed to have come to The Bahamas for any immoral purpose, or who are reasonably believed to be a prostitute are prohibited from entering the country.
It is an illegal for a person living with HIV to have sexual intercourse without disclosing their HIV status to the sexual partner.

Legal Approach(es)
  • J: It is illegal to solicit to buy or sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place (eg UK, Fiji)
Characteristics:
  • 2: The law conflates sex work that does not involve coercion with sexual exploitation and human trafficking. (e.g. Nepal)
  • 6: The law is gender neutral so may be applied to men who sell sex.
  • 9: There are laws to prevent women living with HIV from selling sex or requiring them to disclose their HIV status to clients (e.g. USA)

Bangladesh

  • Keeping a brothel or allowing premises to be used as a brothel, living on the earnings of prostitution and procuring a female for the purpose of prostitution are criminalised by the Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act, 193. 'Brothel' is defined as a place in which two or more females sell sex
  • Soliciting to sell sex is illegal under Section 290 of the Penal Code and various local laws.
  • A woman can obtain permission to sell sex by paying a fee and swearing an affidavit stating she is unable to find other work and is exercising free choice. This registration confers no social, economic, civil or political rights or access to health services.  Registered women mainly work in large brothel complexes that have been tolerated for many years.
  • Law enforcement is highly corrupt and police violence is common. Women charged with vagrancy provisions are detained in shelters from which they are released to male 'guardians' or by paying a bribe. Various abuses in detention centres have been reported by sex workers. Women who have no guardian to collect them from detention or money for bribes are detained in the centres for longer periods or released to people that exploit them.
  • The Supreme Court has held that because there is no law expressly prohibiting prostitution sex workers should enjoy constitutional protection of their fundamental human rights and freedoms. It has also declared that detention for 'vagrancy'is unlawful and ordered that rehabilitation schemes be compatible with human dignity and worth. Consistent with this the Bangladesh Election Commission has recognized 'prostitution' as an occupation on the voter identification cards that Bangladeshi citizens needed to access services, open bank accounts, register children's births etc.  
  • Buying sex is not illegal.
  • STI and HIV testing are officially voluntary and confidential
Legal Approach(es)
  • H: It is illegal to sell sex and organise commercial sex except where permission is given by a licensing authority that applies conditions such as health provisions and restrictions on how and where the person or business can operate (eg Senegal)
Characteristics:
  • 3: Laws against prostitution and brothel keeping are complimented by regulations that recognise other businesses such as entertainment or personal services in which sex work can be organised under specific conditions. (e.g. Thailand)
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Barbados

  • The Sexual Offences Act 1993 of Barbados makes it  illegal to allow premises to be used for prostitution; to manage, act or assist in the management of a brothel, to procure for prostitution and to live off immoral earnings.
  • It is an offence to solicit to sell sex in public places. (S19)
  • Being in the company of a prostitute and aiding and abetting prostitution are also criminalised (S20)
  • Police and immigration officers periodically raid brothels and deport migrant women found working illegally.
  • Buying sex is not illegal.
  • STI and HIV testing are officially voluntary and confidential
Legal Approach(es)
  • D: It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Argentina)
Characteristics:
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Belize

  • It is illegal to procure a person to work as a prostitute; to keep or manage or act or assist in the management of a brothel, to provide premises for prostitution and to knowingly live wholly or in part on the earnings of prostitution.
  • The Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act Chapter 98 makes it illegal for a ‘common prostitute’ to solicit, or be in any street or public place, for the purpose of prostitution and to behave in a riotous and indecent manner. Women are classified as common prostitutes after a police warning.  
  • Where a magistrate believes information given by a parent, policeman, relative or guardian,   that a woman or girl is being detained for immoral purposes he can authorise police to remove and detain the woman or girl until she can be brought before a magistrate who can deliver her to parents or guardian or ‘otherwise deal with her.
  • 'Male persons’ commit an offence if they loiter about for the purpose of prostitution or persistently solicit or importune for immoral purposes in public places.  This is aimed at male sex workers not clients of female sex workers.
  • Enforcement is weak and corrupt and there is significant violence against sex workers. HIV testing is officially confidential and voluntary 
  • Immigration law prohibits entry of any prostitute or homosexual or any person who may be living on or receiving the proceeds of prostitution or homosexuality.
 
Legal Approach(es)
  • D: It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Argentina)
Characteristics:
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Bolivia

Since 2001 sex can be sold from permitted brothels and by licensed sex workers. Female must register and must undergo regular health checks for sexually transmitted diseases every 20 days and police can check whether the prostitutes are registered and have attended the STI clinic or not. Operators of unlicensed brothels and unregistered sex workers are guilty of an offence. Enforcement of these provisions is weak and access to health care is poor so in practice compliance is low.

Legal Approach(es)
  • H: It is illegal to sell sex and organise commercial sex except where permission is given by a licensing authority that applies conditions such as health provisions and restrictions on how and where the person or business can operate (eg Senegal)
Characteristics:
  • 1: There are laws or regulations that require sex workers to undergo medical examination (e.g. Latvia)

Bosnia Herzegovena

  • The Penalty Code makes it illegal to organise the prostitution of others and to recruit for prostitution with or without coercion. 
  • Soliciting to sell sex is a misdemeanor offence against public peace and order. 
  • Law enforcement focuses on female sex workers and is inconsistent. 
  • Violence against sex workers is very common and sex workers have no access to justice. 
  • Buying sex is not illegal. 
  • HIV testing is officially confidential.
Legal Approach(es)
  • D: It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Argentina)
Characteristics:
  • 2: The law conflates sex work that does not involve coercion with sexual exploitation and human trafficking. (e.g. Nepal)
  • 6: The law is gender neutral so may be applied to men who sell sex.

Botswana

  • Sections 149, 154, 155, 156 and 157 of the Penal Code criminalise procuring any person to have unlawful carnal connection or become a prostitute; living on earnings of prostitution; persistently soliciting for prostitution; aiding prostitution for gain and brothel keeping. Brothel keeping offences apply to managers, landlords, tenants and anyone else who is 'party to the continued use of such premises as a brothel.'
  • It is illegal (S 153) to detain a person in a place for the purpose of having any unlawful carnal connection and, if the place is a brothel, that person is deemed to be detained even if she is in fact there voluntarily.
  • Soliciting to sell sex in public places is criminalised by provisions about common nuisance and loitering.
  • Section of the Penal Code 184 makes it an offence for an HIV positive sex worker to do anything which is likely to spread the infection.
  • Law enforcement is weak or inconsistent and sex workers have complained that extortion and violence by police routinely occurs.
  • Buying sex is not criminalised.
  • STI and HIV testing are officially voluntary and confidential.
Legal Approach(es)
  • D: It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Argentina)
Characteristics:
  • 2: The law conflates sex work that does not involve coercion with sexual exploitation and human trafficking. (e.g. Nepal)
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Brazil

  • It is illegal to profit from the prostitution of others; to maintain a house for the purpose of prostitution and to entice or procure a woman for prostitution.
  • Vagrancy/public order laws are used to charge women for soliciting to sell sex in public places. 
  • Sex work is recognised as an occupation which means that sex workers can claim pensions and other benefits. The Federal Labor and Employment Ministry Primer on Sex Professional offers advice for those who wish to become sex workers on its website.
  • Sex worker groups say law enforcement is generally corrupt and violent. Local authorities and state police have closed brothels and evicted sex workers from some areas while tolerating brothels in others.
  • Federal and State governments have various policies on sex work and law. For example Rio de Janeiro authorities launched campaigns against sex tourism and arrested several persons involved in promoting prostitution and require certain businesses to display signs about the illegality of sex with minors.
  • Buying sex is not illegal.
  • Sex workers have been a key focus of the Brazilian National Aids Strategy. STI and HIV testing are officially voluntary and confidential
Legal Approach(es)
  • F: It is illegal to organise commercial sex. (eg Brazil)
Characteristics:
  • 7: Different state or district level governments within one country can make rules on sex work so they are not uniform throughout the country. (e.g. Australia)
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Bulgaria

  • Articles 154 and 155 of the Penal Code of Bulgaria prohibit 'organised prostitution' which is defined as systematically placing premises for sexual intercourse or for acts of lewdness at the disposal of different persons.and procuring. Procuring is an offence defined as persuading an individual to practice prostitution of perform indecent touching or copulation.  
  • Penalties are more severe where drugs are given to persuade or force another person to practice prostitution or where an individual is acting at the orders of, or implementing a decision of, an organized criminal group.
  • Soliciting to sell sex in public places is criminalised by vagrancy/public order laws.
  • Buying sex is not illegal.  
  • STI and HIV testing are officially voluntary and confidential.
Legal Approach(es)
  • F: It is illegal to organise commercial sex. (eg Brazil)
Characteristics:
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Cambodia

  • The 2008 Cambodian Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation confirms pre-existing provisions against human trafficking and procuring with the use of force or coercion and extends them to all third party involvement in sex work which is defined in the Act as sexual exploitation. This includes criminalisation of almost all social and financial transactions connected to sex work such as supplying accommodation, transport, employment, advertising or any other services to sex workers. These laws apply regardless of the consent of the woman.
  • It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in public places.
  • Freelance prostitution is criminalised through soliciting laws and by a government policy on 'safer communities' that also targets drug users.
  • When the law was introduced there were many arrests for trafficking, procuring and soliciting and many sex workers were rescued and placed in social detention. As brothels were closed and street prostitution was dramatically reduced, commercial sex shifted to restaurants, entertainment and massage venues where sex must be negotiated without the official knowledge of the venue operator before being carried out in nearby guesthouses. Women who sell sex were reclassified as 'entertainment workers' and the term 'sex worker' was removed from all official documents.
  • Law enforcement is inconsistent and allegations by sex workers of violence, rape and theft by police and prison guards have been confirmed and internationally acknowledged.
  • Buying sex is not illegal.
  • HIV and STI testing is officially voluntary and confidential although in practice mandatory and quasi mandatory testing occurs, including in public entertainment venues where confidentiality is not possible.
Legal Approach(es)
  • D: It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Argentina)
Characteristics:
  • 2: The law conflates sex work that does not involve coercion with sexual exploitation and human trafficking. (e.g. Nepal)
  • 3: Laws against prostitution and brothel keeping are complimented by regulations that recognise other businesses such as entertainment or personal services in which sex work can be organised under specific conditions. (e.g. Thailand)

Cameroon

  • Procuring a woman for prostitution, brothel keeping, aiding and abetting prostitution and living off immoral earnings are illegal. (S294 Cameroon Penal Act).
  • It is illegal to sell sex which is defined as 'habitually engaging in sexual acts with another for remuneration.' This applies in any place and regardless of how or where the sex worker and client meet.
  • Soliciting to sell sex in public spaces is illegal.(S343 Cameroon Penal Act)
  • Both men and women can be charged. 
  • Because it is difficult to prove the 'habitual' element in the prostitution offence and because it attracts a jail sentence of up to five years, sex workers are rarely charges with these offences. Sex business managers have sometimes been prosecuted.
  • In theory it is illegal for married men to buy sex because adultery is a crime for both men and women although this law is unenforced.
  • HIV and STI testing are officially voluntary and confidential. 
Legal Approach(es)
  • C: It is illegal to sell sex and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Mongolia)
Characteristics:
  • 6: The law is gender neutral so may be applied to men who sell sex.

Canada

  • In December 2014, The Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act replaced Canada's former prostitution laws.  The new law criminalises purchasing sex; benefitting materially from the prostitution of another (unless there is a legitimate relationship which was undefined in early 2015); anyone other than sex workers advertising sex businesses and communicating for the purposes of prostitution near schools, playgrounds, community centres.
  • It is not yet known how the new law will be enforced.
  • HIV and STI testing are officially voluntary and confidential.  
Legal Approach(es)
  • E: It is illegal to buy sex and to organise commercial sex in any place (eg Sweden)
Characteristics:

Chile

  • Brothel keeping and procuring for prostitution are illegal.
  • Although selling sex appears in a list of 'offenses against morality' in the Penal Code of Chile sex workers can register with health authorities and submit to mandatory medical examinations.
  • Sex workers have said that law enforcement is sparse or corrupt.
  • Buying sex is not illegal.
Legal Approach(es)
  • H: It is illegal to sell sex and organise commercial sex except where permission is given by a licensing authority that applies conditions such as health provisions and restrictions on how and where the person or business can operate (eg Senegal)
Characteristics:
  • 1: There are laws or regulations that require sex workers to undergo medical examination (e.g. Latvia)

China

  • Sex work is addressed by both administrative and criminal law. The Law on Penalties for Administration of Public Security 2005 (Article 66) make buying and selling sex unlawful as well as 'seducing, sheltering or introducing a person to prostitution'.  
  • Organizing, forcing or inducing prostitution are illegal.
  • Both sellers and buyers of sexual services are liable to fines and administrative detention in re-education centres or 'labour camps'. There are reports of up to fifty thousand sex workers being detained in these camps annually.
  • The Regulations for AIDS Prevention and Treatment make selling or buying sex when knowingly infected with a sexually transmissible infection illegal. It carries a penalty of a fine and prison, detention, or surveillance.
  • Article 61 of the regulations empowers health authorities to require the provision of condoms in venues and to withdraw permission to conduct business if they do not comply.
  • Enforcement varies throughout the country and is generally inconsistent and frequently brutal. Street-based workers are more likely to be arrested than those in establishments. Unless there are aggravating factors the usual punishment is a fine and a warning, and sometimes informing family or public shaming. 
  • According to sex workers, police collect bribes to avoid arrest and there are arbitrary arrests, assaults, rapes, theft vandalism of property and other violations of human rights by law police and other enforcement agents. 
Legal Approach(es)
  • B: It is illegal to buy and sell sex and to organise commercial sex in any place (advertising, living off immoral earnings, operating a brothel, procuring etc) (eg Vietnam)
Characteristics:
  • 7: Different state or district level governments within one country can make rules on sex work so they are not uniform throughout the country. (e.g. Australia)
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)
  • 9: There are laws to prevent women living with HIV from selling sex or requiring them to disclose their HIV status to clients (e.g. USA)

Colombia

It is illegal to operate a brothel other than in a designated 'tolerance zone'. Sex workers are required to attend STI clinics.

Law enforcement is corrupt and violent and the requirement for health checks is not carried out in practice

Legal Approach(es)
  • F: It is illegal to organise commercial sex. (eg Brazil)
Characteristics:
  • 3: Laws against prostitution and brothel keeping are complimented by regulations that recognise other businesses such as entertainment or personal services in which sex work can be organised under specific conditions. (e.g. Thailand)
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Cote d'Ivoire

  • It is illegal to pander for prostitution and to operate a brothel.
  • It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in public places.
  • Sex workers have said that law enforcement is sparse or corrupt and that sex workers are harassed by police and made to pay fines and bribes.
  • Buying sex is not illegal 
  • HIV and STI testing are officially voluntary and confidential.
Legal Approach(es)
  • D: It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Argentina)
Characteristics:
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Croatia

<ul><li>Selling sex is made illegal by Article 12 of the Act on Misdemeanours against Public Peace and Order which criminalises ‘falling into prostitution.’ This means selling sex repeatedly.</li><li>Convicted women can be compelled undergo testing and treatment for STIs and HIV and/or expelled from the district in which the offence was committed for 30 days to 6 months.</li><li>Organising the prostitution of others is prohibited both by the Act on Misdemeanours against Public Peace and Order and the Criminal Code in which Article 7 criminalises allowing for one’s premises to be used for prostitution or enabling or helping another to engage in prostitution. It is also illegal for a third party to advertise prostitution. Alluring or inciting another person to give sexual services (pandering), organising and abetting prostitution are made illegal by Criminal Code (Article 175) Consent is irrelevant to this offence.</li><li>Buying sex is not illegal unless it is from a woman who has been compelled to sell sex if the buyer knew, or should have known, that there was some form of compulsion.</li><li>Although the prohibition on selling sex is gender neutral, in practice it is only used against women. The offences related to selling sex apply regardless of location, in practice street workers are targeted. Indoor venues are very occasionally raided by police and elite prostitution in hotels or yachts is not targeted at all.&nbsp;</li><li>Fines are common and HIV testing and exclusion orders are very rare.</li></ul>

Legal Approach(es)
  • C: It is illegal to sell sex and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Mongolia)
Characteristics:
  • 1: There are laws or regulations that require sex workers to undergo medical examination (e.g. Latvia)
  • 2: The law conflates sex work that does not involve coercion with sexual exploitation and human trafficking. (e.g. Nepal)

Curacao

Prostitution is regulated by a 1944 aimed at limiting contagious diseases. Sex can be sold legally within government controlled brothels as well as in other small establishments.It is illegal to induce a person to sell sex and to promote sexual immorality by acting as an intermediary, or to derive profit from the activities of any person engaging in 'sexual immorality as a profession.' Thus operating a brothel, living on the earnings of a prostitute and procuring are illegal. It is also illegal to let premises for prostitution.Section 233 of the 1999 law on prostitution criminalises 'any person who incites or invites other persons to prostitution or exhibits immoral habits in a manner which is likely to annoy others or arouse public offence.'
Other than this provision it is not illegal to sell sex without the involvement of an employer, landlord, advertiser or any other third party involvement. Official policy is to focus on limiting trafficking and child sexual exploitation.All sex workers must apply for a permit to enter the country to work. Only adult women who are not citizens of Curacao are given permission to sell sex. Visas are time limited and contain a number of conditions which includes undergoing weekly medical examination.
If a registered sex worker does not present for examination she is contacted by police who can take her to a doctor for examination.Sex workers who infringe regulations may be immediately deported.
Public order laws can be used to arrest women for soliciting for sex in public places. Most law is not enforced so all forms of sex work are common throughout the country. Sex workers are taxed but cannot assert labour rights and have limited access to benefits.
It is not illegal to buy sex.

Legal Approach(es)
  • H: It is illegal to sell sex and organise commercial sex except where permission is given by a licensing authority that applies conditions such as health provisions and restrictions on how and where the person or business can operate (eg Senegal)
Characteristics:
  • 1: There are laws or regulations that require sex workers to undergo medical examination (e.g. Latvia)
  • 9: There are laws to prevent women living with HIV from selling sex or requiring them to disclose their HIV status to clients (e.g. USA)

Cyprus

  • It is illegal to operate brothels, organize prostitution rings, live off the profits of prostitution, encourage prostitution or force a person to engage in prostitution.
  • Buying and selling sex are not illegal.
  • HIV testing is officially confidential and voluntary.
Legal Approach(es)
  • F: It is illegal to organise commercial sex. (eg Brazil)
Characteristics:

Czech Republic

  • It is illegal to procure a person for prostitution, to live off immoral earnings or to operate a brothel.
  • Public order laws are used to arrest women for soliciting for sex in public places.   
  • Law enforcement is lax so that all forms of sex work are common throughout the country.
  • HIV and STI testing are officially voluntary and confidential
  • It is not illegal to buy sex
Legal Approach(es)
  • I: It is illegal to organise and to sell sexual services except within specific buildings or zones, or away from designated buildings and zones. (eg Switzerland)
Characteristics:

Democratic Republic of Congo.

  • Article 174 of the Law No. 09/001 on the Protection of Children [Law No. 09/001 on Child Protection] criminalises both selling sex and operating sex businesses. It states 'who, to gratify the passions of others, will be hired, abducted or enticed, to the debauchery and prostitution, even with his consent, a person older than eighteen years of age...' and those who operate a house of prostitution or debauchery or lives wholly or partly on the earnings of prostitution.'
  • These laws are not implemented because the necessary decrees from several ministries have not been issued which means that funds are not available to conduct prosecutions. 
  • Street sex workers claim to be subject to harassment, extortion and violence by police.
  • Public order laws are sometimes used to arrest sex workers.
  • It is not illegal to buy sex.
  • HIV and STI testing are officially voluntary and confidential
Legal Approach(es)
  • F: It is illegal to organise commercial sex. (eg Brazil)
Characteristics:
  • 2: The law conflates sex work that does not involve coercion with sexual exploitation and human trafficking. (e.g. Nepal)
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Denmark

  • It is illegal to induce a person to sell sex and to promote sexual immorality by acting as an intermediary, or to derive profit from the activities of any person engaging in 'sexual immorality as a profession'. Thus operating a brothel, living on the earnings of a prostitute and procuring are illegal. It is also illegal to let premises for prostitution.
  • Section 233 of the 1999 law on prostitution criminalises  'any person who incites or invites other persons to prostitution or exhibits immoral habits in a manner which is likely to annoy others or arouse public offence.' 
  • Official policy is to focus enforcement on limiting trafficking and child sexual exploitation.
  • Sex workers have said that the policy has led to less visible forms of sex work including internet-based advertisements for escort services. 
  • Sex workers are taxed but cannot assert labour rights and have limited access to benefits. 
  • HIV and STI testing are officially voluntary and confidentia.l
  • It is not illegal to buy sex. 
Legal Approach(es)
  • F: It is illegal to organise commercial sex. (eg Brazil)
Characteristics:

Dominica

  • The Sexual Offences Act 1998 makes it illegal to procure a person to work as a prostitute; to keep or manage or act or assist in the management of a brothel, to provide premises for prostitution and to knowingly live wholly or in part on the earnings of prostitution.
  • Street soliciting could be subject to a provision of the Small Offences concerning ‘any person behaving in a public place in an indecent manner.’
  • The laws are gender neutral so it is possible that men could be charged with prostitution offences.
  • It is a human trafficking offence to assist any other person to enter or leave Dominica in an unlawful manner, which includes where there is no coercion.
  • Homosexuality, buggery and lesbian sex (S15.1) are made illegal by articles 14-16 of the Sexual Offences Act.
  • HIV testing is officially confidential and voluntary
Legal Approach(es)
  • D: It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Argentina)
Characteristics:
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Ecuador

  • No law criminalizes selling sex or brokering sexual services provided by adults. The only legal document that mentions prostitution is the National Health Code of Ecuador which states that sex work inside of 'closed establishments' should be monitored by the Ministry of Health.
  • Those who solicit on the street and other informal sites can be charged with public order offences.  
  • All brothels must be licensed and individual sex workers must obtain a 'carnet,' which is an occupational license that appears to certify that the sex worker is disease free. To obtain the license, sex workers must be over 18 and test negative for syphilis, chlamydia, and HIV.  The license must be updated by a government clinic every 8-15 days. If the sex worker tests positive for disease the license is suspended or revoked. The carnet resembles a passport which includes a photograph of the sex worker.  Sex workers have demanded the photo be removed and for the diagnosis of diseases to be encrypted.
  • A large portion of sex workers do not comply with these regulations have become less strictly enforced in recent years. 
  • It is not illegal to buy sex. In fact the Ecuadorian military officially arranges for sex workers to be availabe to personnel serving in remote places including the Galapagos Islands. 
Legal Approach(es)
  • H: It is illegal to sell sex and organise commercial sex except where permission is given by a licensing authority that applies conditions such as health provisions and restrictions on how and where the person or business can operate (eg Senegal)
Characteristics:
  • 1: There are laws or regulations that require sex workers to undergo medical examination (e.g. Latvia)
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)
  • 9: There are laws to prevent women living with HIV from selling sex or requiring them to disclose their HIV status to clients (e.g. USA)

Egypt

  • Article 9(c) of Law No. 10/1961 (on Combating Prostitution, Incitement and its Encouragement) makes the 'habitual practice of debauchery [fujur] an offence. This makes both organising commercial sex and selling sex illegal
  • The same law could also make buying sex illegal but convictions of clients in lower courts have been overturned in higher courts. There are reports that police release clients after they have made a statement against the sex worker.
  • Law enforcement is allegedly inconsistent and corrupt and sex workers have claimed that arrests are frequently violent and unlawful.
  • There are no regulations that require sex workers be medically examined but it has been reported that Egyptian police conduct mandatory testing on sex workers and other arrested people that they suspect of being HIV positive.
Legal Approach(es)
  • B: It is illegal to buy and sell sex and to organise commercial sex in any place (advertising, living off immoral earnings, operating a brothel, procuring etc) (eg Vietnam)
Characteristics:
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Estonia

  • Penal Code S 268 makes it illegal to aid prostitution;to involve a person by mediation and to provide premises for the illegal consumption of drugs, gambling, or prostitution.
  • Although this law is gender neutral it appears to be used only in respect of female sex work.
  • Penal Code S 201 forbids ‘illegal activities’ in a person’s dwelling which has been used to prevent sex workers providing services from home or private apartments.
  • Selling and buying sex are not a crime but there are legal barriers to prostitution being a recognised occupation.
  • Police priorities are adolescent girls and drugs associated with sex work but NGO reports suggest that the sex industry is controlled by organized criminal structures, with the help of corrupt officials.
  • HIV testing is officially confidential and voluntary
Legal Approach(es)
  • F: It is illegal to organise commercial sex. (eg Brazil)
Characteristics:

Ethiopia

  • Article 634 of the Ethiopian Penal Code states, 'Whoever, for gain, makes a profession of or lives by procuring or on the prostitution or immorality of another, or maintains, as a landlord or keeper, a brothel, is punishable with simple imprisonment and fine.
  • Article 846 criminalises 'improper soliciting' and prostitution that is a nuisance to neighbours.
  • Article 639 criminalises sex and any other act 'offensive to decency or morals' carried out in public.
  • Article 847 prohibits the public advertisement of commercial sex.
  • The laws are rarely enforced.
  • The Proclamation to Provide for Controlling Vagrancy, No. 384/2004 is occasionally used to detain sex workers or move them on for short periods.
  • Proclamation No. 661 of 13 January 2010, Art. 27 outlines the reporting duties of health professionals in relation to communicable diseases. Subsection 3 seems to make acquiescence to medical examination and treatment mandatory for anyone identified as suspected of having a communicable disease which includes HIV and STIs although this regulation has not been used in practice and it appears that HIV and STI testing are voluntary and confidential.
  • It is not illegal to buy sex.
Legal Approach(es)
  • D: It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Argentina)
Characteristics:
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Fiji

  • The Crimes Decree 2009 criminalises 

                  Brothel keeping.(Section 233)
                  Procuring for Prostitution (Section 217);
                  Knowingly living on the earnings of prostitution (Section 230);
                  Loitering in a public place for the purpose of offering sex in return for a payment of any nature,
                  Soliciting for immoral purposes (Section 231);
                  Seeking or buying sex in a public place (Section 231)

  • Section 233 contains anti-trafficking provisions which apply even where there is consent.
  • Law enforcement increased dramatically when the law was introduced. Sex workers claimed that they have been were rounded up and subjected to humiliating abuses and forced labour by the country's military in 2011.
  • Crackdowns that appear to be driven by publicity about child prostitution and human trafficking occur regularly and can entail arbitrary arrests, assaults, rapes, theft and vandalism of property. Street-based workers are more likely to be arrested than establishment based sex workers and transgender sex workers are most vulnerable to arrest and abuse. According to sex workers police collect bribes.
  • HIV and STI testing are officially voluntary and confidential.
Legal Approach(es)
  • J: It is illegal to solicit to buy or sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place (eg UK, Fiji)
Characteristics:
  • 2: The law conflates sex work that does not involve coercion with sexual exploitation and human trafficking. (e.g. Nepal)

Finland

  • Sex work is regulated by several Finnish laws in the Penal Code, Public Order Act and Aliens Act. Organising sex work, known as pandering, is illegal. This includes providing facilities, promoting or otherwise accommodating prostitution; providing sex workers’ contact information; tempting or recruiting people into sex work or otherwise profiting from the prostitution of another person.
  • An article in the Public Order Act (612/2003 Chapter 2) that addresses “other activities causing disturbance” makes it illegal to buy or sell sexual services in public places which includes restaurants and bars, as well as streets.
  • It is illegal to buy sex from a minor and from victims of trafficking or pandering (Penal Code, Chapter 20 (Sex Offences)
  • The Alien's Act makes suspicion of selling of sexual services sufficient reason for deportation or refusal of entry which at least partly criminalizes migrant sex work. In 2004, provisions on trafficking in human beings and aggravated trafficking in human beings were introduced. The trafficking law applies to various forms of exploitation including sexual abuse, forced labor or other demeaning circumstances and removal of bodily organs.
  • The offences of pandering and trafficking (for the purpose of sexual exploitation) overlap significantly both in police investigations and in court. Although laws apply to both male and female sex work in practice they are used mainly against women
  • HIV testing is voluntary and confidential.
Legal Approach(es)
  • J: It is illegal to solicit to buy or sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place (eg UK, Fiji)
Characteristics:
  • 6: The law is gender neutral so may be applied to men who sell sex.

France

L. 225 of the Code Penal makes it illegal to solicit to sell sex. This is defined as "the act, by any means, even a passive attitude, to solicit another in the aim of inciting him or her to have sexual relations in exchange for remuneration or a promise of remuneration.'
Owning or operating a brothel, procuring and living off the avails of prostitution are illegal. These are defined as helping or protecting someone to prostitute themselves; profiting from the prostitution of another or receiving funds from someone who prostitutes themselves habitually, hiring or training someone to prostitute themselves or pressuring someone to prostitute themselves.
Sex workers can be charged with public order and traffic offences and migrant sex workers are subject to vigorous enforcement of anti-trafficking and immigration rules.
Buying sex was made illegal in 2016.
Law enforcement varies across the country and discreet brothels are tolerated in towns and cities across the country. Sex workers have complained of police violence and poor enforecement of laws that could protect sex workers, especially against transwoman.
HIV and STI testing are officially voluntary and confidential.

Legal Approach(es)
  • E: It is illegal to buy sex and to organise commercial sex in any place (eg Sweden)
Characteristics:
  • 6: The law is gender neutral so may be applied to men who sell sex.
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Germany

Germany is a federal system in which each state can interpret, enact and enforce federal legislation differently. Each city has the right to zone off certain areas where prostitution is not allowed and small towns may prohibit brothels completely.
The Act on the Regulation of Prostitutes' Legal Affairs 2002 gave sex work legal status by establishing that agreements between adult sex workers, employers and clients are subject to civil law. Thus it is legal to sell sex in aproved businesses or on a freelance basis and sex workers can enforce relevant contracts (such as to be paid by a client) Sex businesses must comply with regulations about health and safety;hygiene and location.
Single sex workers can operate from home without a permit.
Migrants who are permitted to work in Germany may sell sex, including as employees.
All businesses and freelance sex workers must conform with taxation, compulsory health insurance, planning and labour regulations.
Sex businesses must supply condoms and enable sex workers access to health and social counselling services and unprotected sex may not be advertised.
The 2002 laws shifted the emphasis from mandatory HIV and STI testing to prevention, information, and voluntary engagement with sex workers.
Tax is collected in various ways at local level. For example in Stuttgart brothels are required to collect a standard daily tax from sex workers while Cologne and Gelsenkirchen have imposed a tax based on the amount of floorspace used for sex work. In Bonn taxes are collected via converted parking ticket machines that issue tickets to street sex workers that indicate permission to work in that place for a period of time.
It is not illegal to buy sex. STI and HIV testing is required of some sex workers.
On July 1, 2017 new legislation will come in to force that makes condom use mandatory and forces sex workers to register and attend compulsory counselling. Such a law already exists in Bavaria where sex workers have reported that Bavarian police are sending fake clients to sex workers asking for unprotected sex and arrest those who agree.

Legal Approach(es)
  • I: It is illegal to organise and to sell sexual services except within specific buildings or zones, or away from designated buildings and zones. (eg Switzerland)
Characteristics:
  • 1: There are laws or regulations that require sex workers to undergo medical examination (e.g. Latvia)
  • 7: Different state or district level governments within one country can make rules on sex work so they are not uniform throughout the country. (e.g. Australia)

Guam

Selling sex in public and private is illegal. Brothel keeping and organizing prostitution is illegal
Women who work in 'entertainment establishments' such as massage parlours, karaoke clubs and strip bars must submit to STI and HIV testing by the Massage Parlour Regulations. These regulations require massage parlour managers to ensure that workers are certified to be free of STIs and HIV. There is poor compliance with the regulations which is estimates to cover only 12 % of those workers.
There are heavy penalties for women who sell sex while knowing that they are HIV positive regardless of viral load.
It is not illegal to buy sex.

Legal Approach(es)
  • C: It is illegal to sell sex and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Mongolia)
Characteristics:
  • 1: There are laws or regulations that require sex workers to undergo medical examination (e.g. Latvia)
  • 9: There are laws to prevent women living with HIV from selling sex or requiring them to disclose their HIV status to clients (e.g. USA)

Guatemala

Legal Approach(es)
Characteristics:

Guyana

  • Selling sex is made illegal by a law against endangering the lives, safety or health of the public. (Section 356 of the Guyana Criminal Offences Act)
  • It is illegal to keep or manage a bawdy house.  (S 357  Guyana Criminal Offences Act)
  • It is illegal to have carnal connection with a woman by tricking or lying to her but it does not apply if the woman is a 'common prostitute'.(S72)
  • Sex workers have said that police cite public order laws as justification for arresting or 'fining' sex workers. 
  • Law enforcement is inconsistent and sex workers have complained about police violence and lack of access to health services despite high HIV rates.
  • It is not illegal to buy sex.
  • HIV and STI testing are officially voluntary and confidential.
Legal Approach(es)
  • C: It is illegal to sell sex and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Mongolia)
Characteristics:
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region)

Soliciting for any immoral purpose in a public place is made illegal by Section 147 of the Crimes Ordinance .
Some of the many migrant sex workers from the mainland and other countries are prosecuted for fake visas and identity cards.
It is an offense to keep a brothel which is defined as a place in which than one sex worker operates and to control of sex workers.
Offences under the Crimes Ordinance include:

• bringing another person into, or taking another person out of, Hong Kong for the purpose of ‘prostitution’. Consent of the person being transported is not a defence
(Section 129);
• harbouring another person or exercising control, direction or influence over another person for the purpose of or with a view to that person’s ‘prostitution’ (Section 130);
• procuring another person to become a ‘prostitute’ (Section 131);
• living on the earnings of ‘prostitution’ (Section 137);
• keeping a vice establishment (brothel) (Section 139);
• advertisement of sex services (Section147A).

The police generally target street workers rather than private sex workers and brothel owners.
HIV and STI testing is voluntary and confidential
Buying sex is not illegal

Legal Approach(es)
  • D: It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Argentina)
Characteristics:
  • 6: The law is gender neutral so may be applied to men who sell sex.
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Hungary

  • Section 205 of the Penal Code makes it illegal to promote prostitution. This includes making places available for prostitution; operating a brothel, persuading another person to engage in prostitution and living on the earnings of a person engaging in prostitution.
  • Section 207 (1) makes it illegal for any person to solicit another person for sexual intercourse or fornication for any financial gain.
  • Section 8 of a 1999 Law on Organized Crime empowers municipal authorities to license sex businesses and designate special zones (called tolerance zones) in which the soliciting laws do not apply. Some local authorities have refused to designate such a tolerance zone.
  • All women who sell sex must be at least eighteen years old.   
  • STI and HIV testing is mandatory. 'Health certificates' must be obtained from the relevant authority by all female sex workers each three months. (Section 9) These can be inspected by police, sex business owners and possibly clients.
  • Freelance sex workers and sex business must comply with taxation and business rules. 
  • It is not illegal to buy sex.
Legal Approach(es)
  • H: It is illegal to sell sex and organise commercial sex except where permission is given by a licensing authority that applies conditions such as health provisions and restrictions on how and where the person or business can operate (eg Senegal)
Characteristics:
  • 1: There are laws or regulations that require sex workers to undergo medical examination (e.g. Latvia)
  • 3: Laws against prostitution and brothel keeping are complimented by regulations that recognise other businesses such as entertainment or personal services in which sex work can be organised under specific conditions. (e.g. Thailand)
  • 9: There are laws to prevent women living with HIV from selling sex or requiring them to disclose their HIV status to clients (e.g. USA)

India

  • The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 (ITPA) criminalizes brothel keeping (Section 3), living on earnings of a prostitute (Section 4), procuring, inducing or detaining a person for sex work (Section 5 & 6), prostitution in areas near public places and notified areas (Section 7), and soliciting (Section 8).
  • Public order offenses are used to arrest and detain sex workers. 
  • Sex workers claim that law enforcement is corrupt or inconsistent and they frequently make allegations of violence, rape and extortion by police and guards in detention centres.
  • HIV and STI testing is usually voluntary and with informed consent but breaches have been reported.
  • It is not illegal to buy sex but clients can be punished for prostitution related behavior in public places. 
Legal Approach(es)
  • D: It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Argentina)
Characteristics:
  • 7: Different state or district level governments within one country can make rules on sex work so they are not uniform throughout the country. (e.g. Australia)
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Indonesia

The Penal Code makes it illegal to facilitate of acts of obscenity by others as a livelihood (Article 296), trade in women (Article 297) and live on the earnings of a female sex worker (Article 506). These laws are rarely used. In practice the sex industry is governed by a range of sub-national, local laws, regulations and by-laws. These range from strict prohibitions on all sex work to officially tolerated brothel complexes &nbsp;called lokalisasi. Tolerated brothels are in decline with one of the most well known lokalisasis, the Dolly, having been closed by police in 2013.
A vagrancy offence in Article 505 of the Penal Code is used to criminalise soliciting to sell sex.
Sex workers claim that police frequently extort money from them under threat of prosecution or detention and that violence and abuse by police including confiscation of condoms are common. They say that police target the most vulnerable sex workers - those who lack identification and residency documents, transgenders, ethnic minorities and drug using sex workers.
Regular STI and HIV testing of sex workers is required by municipal by-laws or by the 'house' rules of the lokalisasi and forced HIV testing has been reported.
Buying sex is not illegal expect insofar as it may contravene Sharia law.

Legal Approach(es)
  • H: It is illegal to sell sex and organise commercial sex except where permission is given by a licensing authority that applies conditions such as health provisions and restrictions on how and where the person or business can operate (eg Senegal)
Characteristics:
  • 1: There are laws or regulations that require sex workers to undergo medical examination (e.g. Latvia)
  • 7: Different state or district level governments within one country can make rules on sex work so they are not uniform throughout the country. (e.g. Australia)
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)
  • 9: There are laws to prevent women living with HIV from selling sex or requiring them to disclose their HIV status to clients (e.g. USA)

Iran

Until 1979 sex work was tolerated in confined red light districts. These were demolished after the Islamic revolution when laws against brothel keeping, procuring prostitution and selling sex; were introduced along with heavy penalties including jail, flogging and execution.
Inconsistent and corrupt enforcement means that there is a large sex industry in most parts of the country.
Public order, religious law and drug laws are also used to arrest sex workers, significant numbers of whom inject heroin.
The laws of Zina apply so that all adultery, fornication and socialising with the opposite sex are prohibited. However Shi'ite Islam allows temporary marriages in which a man and a woman enter an impermanent partnership of minimum duration with a preset expiration date. In some cases this indistinguishable in practice from activities described as sex work in other places.
HIV and STI are offically voluntary and confidential.

Legal Approach(es)
  • C: It is illegal to sell sex and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Mongolia)
Characteristics:
  • 4: Legal recognition of temporary marriage may render some commercial sex legal (e.g. Iran)

Iraq

The Combating Prostitution Law No. 8 of 1988 (arabic) made organising male or female prostitutes illegal and established, in theory, a regime for rehabilitation of prostitutes and. subsequent Revolutionary Command Council increased the penalties for those convicted of organising or engaging in prostitution.

In particular RCC Resolution 234 of 2001 increased the penalty to death. However prostitution was not one of the limited number of offences for which the death penalty was re-instated by means of Decree No. 3 in 2004 but life imprisonment is still a potential penalty.

Buying sex contravenes Sharia law for Muslim men.

Sex workers in Iraq are subject to systematic abuse. Forced STI and HIV testing occur and there are no legal protections from that.

Legal Approach(es)
  • B: It is illegal to buy and sell sex and to organise commercial sex in any place (advertising, living off immoral earnings, operating a brothel, procuring etc) (eg Vietnam)
Characteristics:
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Ireland

  • It is illegal for buyers and sellers of sex to solicit or importune or loiter in public places.
  • It is illegal to organise or control  prostitution, live on earnings of the prostitution or keep premises for the purpose of prostitution.  (Sexual Offences Act 1993 sections 7 to 11 ) 
  • Police are empowered to direct a person to leave a public place or street where soliciting or importuning is believed to be taking place and to charge that person should he or she refuse.
  • The 1994 Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act prohibits advertising for sex work and brothels.
  • Although law enforcement is relatively fair, sex workers report harsh treatment by police that leads to lack of protection from crime and violence.
  • STI and HIV testing are officially voluntary and confidential.
Legal Approach(es)
  • J: It is illegal to solicit to buy or sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place (eg UK, Fiji)
Characteristics:

Israel

  • Selling sex is made illegal by laws against 'prostitution under a roof' and soliciting for prostitution in public places.
  • Living off the earnings of prostitution and causing or inciting another person to become a prostitute or engage in prostitution are illegal. 
  • Public order offenses are used to arrest women who solicit in public places.  
  • Inconsistent and corrupt enforcement means that there is a large sex industry in most parts of the country. 
  • There are persistent reports of violence against sex workers by the public and police.
  • It is not illegal to buy sex.
  • HIV and STI testing are officially voluntary and confidential.
Legal Approach(es)
  • C: It is illegal to sell sex and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Mongolia)
Characteristics:
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Italy

  • Law L75/1958, known as the Merlin Law, makes it illegal to profit from the prostitution of others; to maintain a house for the purpose of prostitution and to entice or procure for prostitution.
  • Article 3.8 makes promoting or exploiting the prostitution of others illegal.
  • Article 3.3 makes prostitution in houses, hotels, dance halls, entertainment clubs or other areas open to the public illegal.
  • Article 5 prohibits solicitation to sell sex in a public place.
  • The Turco-Napolitano law of 1998 (L. 40/98) prevents sex workers deemed to have been trafficked being expelled to their home country.
  • Article 7 prohibits registration and mandatory health checks. HIV and STI testing are officially voluntary and confidential. 
  • It is not illegal to buy sex.
Legal Approach(es)
  • D: It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Argentina)
Characteristics:
  • 7: Different state or district level governments within one country can make rules on sex work so they are not uniform throughout the country. (e.g. Australia)
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Jamaica

  • The 2009 Sexual Offenses Act  (Section 23) makes it illegal to sell sex where it involves persistently soliciting or importuning for immoral purposes, whether in public or private.
  • Knowingly living wholly or in part on the earnings of prostitution is illegal. It applies where a person is proved to live with, or to be habitually in the company of, a prostitute, or is proved to have exercised control, direction or influence over the movements of a prostitute in such manner as to show that the person is aiding, abetting or compelling prostitution.
  • Public order laws are sometimes used to arrest, detain or fine sex workers. 
  • Law enforcement is inconsistent. Sex workers report persistent violence by police and the public, especially against transwomen.  
  • HIV and STI testing are officially voluntary and confidential and government policy supports targeted education and services.
  • It is not illegal to buy sex.
  • STI and HIV testing are officially voluntary and confidential. 
Legal Approach(es)
  • C: It is illegal to sell sex and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Mongolia)
Characteristics:
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Japan

The Prostitution Prevention Law of 1956, makes it illegal to have 'intercourse with an unspecified person in exchange for payment' Article 3 states that 'No person may either do prostitution or become the customer of it'. However penalties are defined only for soliciting by prostitutes, organising prostitution, operating brothels, procuring or inducing a person for sex work, coercing a person into sex work, and profiting from the sex work of others. This means that buying sex is not effectively illegal. The definition of prostitution is limited to vaginal intercourse so that other forms of commercial sex are legal and can take place in massage parlours and 'soaplands' which are known as fuzoku. These businesses are regulated by the 1948 Businesses Affecting Public Morals Regulation Law.
Sex workers say that law enforcement focusses on migrants in the Japanese sex industry who are regularly arrested and deported.
HIV and STI testing are officially voluntary and confidential.

Legal Approach(es)
  • D: It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Argentina)
Characteristics:
  • 5: The definition of prostitution is applied to limited sex acts (e.g. Japan)
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Jordan

It is illegal for a male to live off the earnings of a female sex worker. A man is deemed to knowingly living off a prostitute's earnings, unless otherwise proved, if he lives with a prostitute, has sexual intercourse with her, controls or affects her movements in a way that appears that he is assisting her or compelling her to practise prostitution.(Article 315 Criminal Code of Jordan)
Article 310 of the Criminal Code makes illegal the procurement of a woman to work as a prostitute in Jordan or abroad and any attempt to procure 'any woman under the age of 20 who is not a prostitute or a woman of ill-repute in order for a person to illegally have sexual intercourse with her...any woman, causing her to leave her normal place of residence in Jordan, which is not a brothel, to live in a brothel in Jordan or elsewhere or to frequent it to work as a prostitute'.
If there is the use of threat, intimidation (whether by trickery or deception) or by drugging a woman the punishment is higher.
It is illegal to establish, manage, work in, or help manage a brothel; or rent a house, or knowingly be in charge of a house used as a brothel or to intentionally assist in its habitual use as a brothel. It is also illegal for anyone entrusted with looking after a child aged between 6 and 16 years to allow him/her to be in a brothel.
It is not illegal to buy sex.
HIV and STI testing are officially voluntary and confidential.

Legal Approach(es)
  • C: It is illegal to sell sex and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Mongolia)
Characteristics:
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Kazakhstan

  • The Criminal Code makes it illegal to force or procure for the purposes of prostitution; to live on the earnings of prostitution; to organise or keep or allow premises to be used as a brothel. (Articles 134, 308, 309 and 128)
  • Soliciting to sell sex in public places is prohibited by an administrative article (449) so sex workers cannot challenge fines issued under this article.
  • Buying sex is not illegal.
  • Laws apply to both male and female sex work. Male sex workers are subject to forced HIV testing.
  • Law enforcement is characterised by arbitrary arrest, extortion, rape and beatings of sex workers by police.
  • Although HIV testing is officially voluntary and confidential a survey by the only organisation that supports sex workers (Amelia) found that of 60 respondents, 56 had been subjected to compulsory HIV testing. Moreover results are not confidential. Sex workers must obtain the results of HIV tests through outreach workers who may also share them with sex business managers. HIV positive sex workers continue to provide sexual services they could face criminal liability for the deliberate spread of infection. Funding for health programmes for sex workers are very limited.
Legal Approach(es)
  • D: It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Argentina)
Characteristics:
  • 1: There are laws or regulations that require sex workers to undergo medical examination (e.g. Latvia)
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Kenya

It is illegal to live wholly or in part on the earnings of prostitution and to aid, abet, compell or incite prostitution. (Sections 153 and 154 of the Penal Code)
Women who sell sex can be arrested by both secular and religious police for breaches of various municipal by-laws against 'loitering for the purpose of prostitution,' 'importuning' and 'indecent exposure.'
Sex workers report widespread discrimination, stigma, violations of human rights and in particular violence and extortion and confiscation of condoms by police.
Although access to health is guaranteed by Article 43 of the Kenyan Constitution in practice discrimination limits sex workers access to health services.
HIV and STI testing are officially voluntary but the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act 2006 criminalises HIV transmission which provides disincentive for sex workers to access health care.
It is not illegal to buy sex.

Legal Approach(es)
  • D: It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Argentina)
Characteristics:
  • 7: Different state or district level governments within one country can make rules on sex work so they are not uniform throughout the country. (e.g. Australia)
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)
  • 9: There are laws to prevent women living with HIV from selling sex or requiring them to disclose their HIV status to clients (e.g. USA)

Kiribiti

It is illegal to solicit in public for the purposes of prostitution.
It is illegal to operate a brothel and to live on the earnings of prostitution.
In 2003 in a short-lived effort to stop sex work the Government of Kiribati banned Korean fishing boats from coming its main harbor.
Enforcement of sex work law is low but public order offenses are routinely used against sex workers.
Buying sex is not illegal
HIV testing is voluntary.

Legal Approach(es)
  • D: It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Argentina)
Characteristics:
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Lao PDR

The Penal Code makes it illegal for women to sell sex in public or private and all forms of brothel keeping and assisting prostitution is also illegal.
Because adultery is illegal and carries the same penalty as engaging in sex work buying sex is technically illegal.
Sex workers report that police sometimes abuse them and demand sex without payment. Transgender sex workers in particular experience violence and discrimination.
HIV testing is voluntary and confidential.

Legal Approach(es)
  • B: It is illegal to buy and sell sex and to organise commercial sex in any place (advertising, living off immoral earnings, operating a brothel, procuring etc) (eg Vietnam)
Characteristics:
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Latvia

Cabinet Regulation No. 32 adopted in January 2008, 'Regulations Regarding Restriction of Prostitution', makes it illegal for adults to sell sex unless they have a 'health card.' Police are authorised to arrest any person without a current valid card.

To obtain a health card sex workers must undergo monthly STI and HIV testing. Those who test positive to curable STIs have their health card suspended while they undergo treatment. It is permanently removed from those with HIV. A list of sex workers whose card has been suspended is sent each month to national police.
A person [offering commercial sex] must upon the request of a client present her health card.

A person is allowed to offer or provide sexual services for fee only in a living space which is his or her property or regarding which he or she has entered into a rental contract. The property must be located less than 100 meters from an educational institution or church, no minor may be present and so long as no other persons living in close object.

Sex workers are forbidden from gathering in groups to offer services.

The managers of entertainment and recreational establishments shall ensure that sexual services for fee are not offered, provided and received in these establishments. (this is most likely a translation error. The comma and the word ‘and’ should probably be ‘or’)

All third party activity which promotes such as brothel keeping is prohibited.

It is an offence to advertise sexual services except in erotic publications

Buying sex is not illegal.

Legal Approach(es)
  • F: It is illegal to organise commercial sex. (eg Brazil)
  • H: It is illegal to sell sex and organise commercial sex except where permission is given by a licensing authority that applies conditions such as health provisions and restrictions on how and where the person or business can operate (eg Senegal)
Characteristics:
  • 1: There are laws or regulations that require sex workers to undergo medical examination (e.g. Latvia)
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)
  • 9: There are laws to prevent women living with HIV from selling sex or requiring them to disclose their HIV status to clients (e.g. USA)

Lebanon

  • Sections 526 and 527 of the Lebanese Penal Code make coercion of sex workers and living on the earnings of a sex worker illegal.
  • Article 523 of the Lebanese Penal Code stipulates that sex workers can only practice sex work inside licensed brothels and criminalises 'any person who practices secret prostitution or facilitates it.' No licenses for sex workers or brothels have been granted since 1975. As a result many illegal brothels operated until 1998 when a law forbidding businesses to have rooms available for commercial sex was passed. To bypass this law, the official status of sex businesses changed to 'entertainment venues'
  • To register as a sex worker a women must have undergone a medical examination, cannot be a virgin, and must be older than 21.
  • Clients and sex workers meet at the venue but must go to other locations to have sex. It has been reported that police use possession of condoms as evidence of illegal prostitution.
  • Buying sex is not illegal
Legal Approach(es)
  • H: It is illegal to sell sex and organise commercial sex except where permission is given by a licensing authority that applies conditions such as health provisions and restrictions on how and where the person or business can operate (eg Senegal)
Characteristics:
  • 1: There are laws or regulations that require sex workers to undergo medical examination (e.g. Latvia)
  • 3: Laws against prostitution and brothel keeping are complimented by regulations that recognise other businesses such as entertainment or personal services in which sex work can be organised under specific conditions. (e.g. Thailand)

Libya

  • The Libyan penal code Article 417 criminalises the exploitation of prostitutes and anyone, male or female, who wholly or in part lives off the earnings of a prostitute or who operates a place for practising debauchery or prostitution; helps in managing it or knowingly lets or offers, in any capacity, a house or a place managed for the practice of debauchery, prostitution or lewdness.
  • Buying sex is not illegal expect insofar as it may contravene Sharia law.
Legal Approach(es)
  • F: It is illegal to organise commercial sex. (eg Brazil)
Characteristics:

Lithuania

  • Part 3 of Article 239 of the Lithuanian Criminal Code makes it illegal to live off the earnings of prostitution; coerce with blackmail/deceit/use of psychological or physical pressure a person into prostitution, to recruit to prostitution.
  • Selling sex in public is made illegal by an administrative provision that sets out fines and jail sentences for repeat offences
  • Buying sex is also an administrative offence.
  • It is reported that sex work law enforcement is connected to organised crime and entwined with human trafficking networks. Laws preventing girls from sexual exploitation are poorly enforced.
  • Social insurance is needed for health care but many sex workers do not have it and large numbers of migrant sex workers are undocumented which makes them vulnerable to abuse and illness.Because injecting drug use is common sex workers are vulnerable to drug law and to blood to blood HIV acquisition
  • Law enforcement is weak and the sex industry is not as constricted by these laws as it could be.
  • HIV testing is officially voluntary and confidential
Legal Approach(es)
  • D: It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Argentina)
Characteristics:
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Macao Special Administrative Region

Soliciting in a public place for prostitution under the Criminal Code.
Keeping a brothel is illegal and it is an offence to ‘control prostitution’ or act as an agent encouraging prostitution.
Sex workers complain that most police officers have do not provide the reasons for raids and arrests.
Many sex workers enter on two week visas from China that known to be for sex work but many experience harassment and arrest if they overstay.
It is not illegal to buy sex.
HIV and STI testing are voluntary.

Legal Approach(es)
  • D: It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Argentina)
Characteristics:
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Macedonia

  • The Criminal Law (Art. 191, year 1996) makes it illegal to encourage prostitution, procure for prostitution and to profit by facilitating prostitution.
  • An administrative public order law makes it illegal to solicit to sell sex in public spaces and to provide space for an act of prostitution. Restaurants, bars and hotels among other places are defined as public so people who operate or own them are liable to prosecution. (art. 19. Law on Misdemeanors Against the Public Order and Peace) Notably, no regulation prohibits renting an apartments to sex workers.
  • There is no law against buying sex but having sex in a public place is illegal.
  • Police violence towards sex workers is particularly high. In 2007 it was reported that 82.4 percent of sex workers were assaulted by police.
  • Sex workers right to fair legal process and freedom from mandatory HIV testing was established by a 2016 court decision that recognised that rights had been violated during abusive arrests and detention of 26 sex workers in 2008.
Legal Approach(es)
  • D: It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Argentina)
Characteristics:
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Madagascar

It is illegal to live off the earnings of a sex worker or to operate a brothel.
Soliciting to sell sex in public places is illegal.Public order laws are justify police arresting, detaining or fining sex workers, especially transwomen.
Law enforcement is described by sex workers as abusive and arbitrary. Sex workers are rarely fined or jailed but they are held in police stations and extortion is common. As a result most urban sex work takes place in streets, hotels and shanty towns.
Buying sex is not illegal.
HIV and STI testing is officially mandatory but enforcement is inconsistent.

Legal Approach(es)
  • D: It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Argentina)
Characteristics:
  • 1: There are laws or regulations that require sex workers to undergo medical examination (e.g. Latvia)
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Malawi

Section 146 of the Penal Act makes it illegal to live off the earnings of a sex worker. This has been understood by lower order courts to include her own earning as well as those of another sex worker. It has been used to bring charges against sex workers under 184(c) of the Penal Code  provides that a person found in a place in circumstances which lead to the conclusion that such person is there for an illegal purpose, is deemed a rogue and vagabond.

 In 2016 a high court dismissed charges against sex workers because the arrests were carried out to embarrass and harass Section 146.  It said the law does not criminalise sex work but seeks to protect sex workers from those who exploit them. In other words it was clarified that 146 applies to the earnings of others.  However there are reports that arrests under the rogue and vagabod law have not stopped entirely as a result of this case. 

Sex workers and NGOs have reported serious, frequent violence and other abuses that are not dealt with by police and are often perptetuated by them. 

HIV and STI testing are officially voluntary and confidential although ‘group HIV counseling’ has been reported  

 Buying sex is not illegal.

Legal Approach(es)
  • F: It is illegal to organise commercial sex. (eg Brazil)
Characteristics:
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Malaysia

  • Almost all sex work related activities are illegal. Section 372 of the Penal Code makes soliciting for prostitution in any place and knowingly living on the earnings of a prostitute illegal. 
  • Section 21 of the Sharia Criminal Offences Act provides for fines and whipping to punish 'any woman who prostitutes herself'. Sharia law also forbids buying sex. 
  • Laws that don't address sex work directly such as vagrancy and drugs laws are also used to charge, detain or fine sex workers.
  • Law enforcement has recently focused on closing brothels. In response much of the sex industry has shifted to entertainment venues and hotels and public soliciting is gradually being replaced by internet and mobile phones. According to sex workers the law is enforced by ill disciplined, underpaid civil police and overzealous religious police so that violence and abuse is common especially against drug users, migrants and transgenders.
  • Sexual and reproductive health services and targeted HIV services are limited and access to HIV treatment is impeded by lack of identification (ID) cards and stigma. 
  • The Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 provides an offence for exposing another person to the risk of HIV infection and local health regulations prevent 'beauty and health establishments' from employing sex workers or allowing entry to, or employment of, persons with HIV.
  • Sex workers deemed to be victims of human trafficking are detained under a protective order in 'shelters' in which there is no access to legal, medical or psychological assistance.  After a 9O day stay and/or providing evidence against traffickers they are usually deported.
  • Buying sex is not illegal expect insofar as it may contravene Sharia law.
Legal Approach(es)
  • D: It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Argentina)
  • G: The law against prostitution is expressed as a law against 'debauchery', 'immorality' or other such term. (eg Zambia)
Characteristics:
  • 3: Laws against prostitution and brothel keeping are complimented by regulations that recognise other businesses such as entertainment or personal services in which sex work can be organised under specific conditions. (e.g. Thailand)
  • 7: Different state or district level governments within one country can make rules on sex work so they are not uniform throughout the country. (e.g. Australia)
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)
  • 9: There are laws to prevent women living with HIV from selling sex or requiring them to disclose their HIV status to clients (e.g. USA)

Maldives

All commercial sex is made illegal by Islamic sharia law that criminalises sex out of marriage. Article 88(a) of the Maldivian Penal Code 1967 makes it an offence to disobey an order issued lawfully within the sharia. Article 88(a) is regarded as a catch-all provision to cover situations involving conduct considered by officials or police to be immoral. Provision 173/ 13 of the rules governs the offence of fornication. The offence prohibits persons
from engaging in sexual intercourse with a person to whom marriage is forbidden. Various public order and migration provisions are used against migrant sex workers
Although married people have access to condoms via birth control services, the provision of condoms to unmarried people is not allowed. Access to HIV testing is poor.

Legal Approach(es)
  • B: It is illegal to buy and sell sex and to organise commercial sex in any place (advertising, living off immoral earnings, operating a brothel, procuring etc) (eg Vietnam)
Characteristics:
  • 6: The law is gender neutral so may be applied to men who sell sex.
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Malta

The following sex work related activities are illegal:

Detention of a person against his will in a brothel;
Living off the earnings of the prostitution of any other person.
Public loitering or soliciting for the purposes of prostitution.
Keeping or managing a brothel.
The use of shops, lodging house, hotel or private apartment for the purpose of prostitution.
Letting of house or premises for the purposes of prostitution
Failure to take steps to eject person from premises used for immoral purpose.
HIV and STI testing are officially voluntary and buying sex is not illegal.

Legal Approach(es)
  • C: It is illegal to sell sex and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Mongolia)
Characteristics:

Mexico

  • Mexico is a federal system in which each state can interpret, enact and enforce different laws about sex work. In many of the 32 states it is illegal to operate a brothel, procure or solicit. In others, including Mexico City, there are sanctioned red light districts and sex workers must register with municipal health departments and carry a health card to prove they have undergone recent medical examination and are disease free. Reports have suggested that as few as half female sex workers are registered.
  • Law enforcement is regarded by sex workers as inadequate and unfair and police are blamed for committing violence and being complicit in it. 
  • In 2013 Mexico City won a legal injunction (112/2013) which obliges the government to legally recognize sex work as non-wage labor.
  • Buying sex is not illegal.
Legal Approach(es)
  • D: It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Argentina)
  • I: It is illegal to organise and to sell sexual services except within specific buildings or zones, or away from designated buildings and zones. (eg Switzerland)
Characteristics:
  • 1: There are laws or regulations that require sex workers to undergo medical examination (e.g. Latvia)
  • 7: Different state or district level governments within one country can make rules on sex work so they are not uniform throughout the country. (e.g. Australia)
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)
  • 9: There are laws to prevent women living with HIV from selling sex or requiring them to disclose their HIV status to clients (e.g. USA)

Mongolia

  • The 1998 Law on Combating Licentiousness (Prostitution and Pornography) contains 'catch-all' provisions that ban most sex work related activities. This includes selling sex in any place, luring, recruiting or forcing someone into sex work and facilitating sex work by providing space or transportation. 
  • Sex workers' incomes can be confiscated and they can be jailed.
  • Anti-trafficking law affects women who consent to sex work who can be detained as trafficking victims. 
  • Almost all sex workers are arrested at some point but poorer women who solicit in public places are arrested more frequently than women who work in establishments.
  • Although HIV and STI testing is officially voluntary sex workers who are arrested are taken by police for a medical examination if they do not have a document to show they have recently been tested. HIV tests are conducted at clinics and hospitals or by medical staff at police stations.  Results are sometimes provided to other police and local authorities. In some parts of the country 'green cards' are issued to sex workers that they must present to avoid arrest.
  • Buying sex is not illegal.
Legal Approach(es)
  • C: It is illegal to sell sex and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Mongolia)
Characteristics:
  • 1: There are laws or regulations that require sex workers to undergo medical examination (e.g. Latvia)
  • 2: The law conflates sex work that does not involve coercion with sexual exploitation and human trafficking. (e.g. Nepal)

Myanmar

It is illegal to procure a woman for prostitution and to operate a brothel.
In 1998 the State Peace and Development Council extended the definition of a brothel to mean any part of a house, building, room, any kind of vehicle/vessel/aircraft or place habitually used for the purpose of prostitution.
The Suppression of Prostitution Act (1949) prohibits earning money from one's own prostitution or the prostitution of others.
Soliciting to sell sex in public places is illegal. Public order laws are more frequently used than sex work law used to arrest, detain and fine sex workers.
Sex workers have said that law enforcement is corrupt and violent.
Female and transgender sex workers in Myanmar claim to be subject extortion, arrest, incarceration and exclusion orders. Female sex workers can reduce their chances of being arrested by selling sex in a venue controlled by third parties that provide protection from police.
Transgender sex workers do not have that option and are therefore even more exposed to the cycle of extortion, arrest and jail. All people charged with criminal offenses can be tested for HIV and sex workers who are found to be HIV positive are sent to a separate prison.
In 2000 government issued an administrative order directing police not to use condoms as evidence in prosecutions of sex workers and this later became law (S. 271 Penal Code).
Buying sex is not illegal.

Legal Approach(es)
  • C: It is illegal to sell sex and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Mongolia)
Characteristics:
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)
  • 9: There are laws to prevent women living with HIV from selling sex or requiring them to disclose their HIV status to clients (e.g. USA)

Namibia

  • Pandering or procuring and operating a brothel. (Section 21 of the Combating of Immoral Practices Act 1980)  
  • Soliciting for prostitution in public places is illegal. 
  • Public order offenses are cited by police when they arrest detain or fine sex workers. 
  • There are high rates of HIV among sex workers and relatively poor access to services especially for transwomen. 
  • Significant stigma, discrimination, abuse, rape, police harassment and increased rates of HIV have been reported by sex workers.
  • Buying sex is not illegal
Legal Approach(es)
  • D: It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Argentina)
Characteristics:
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Nepal

The law on female sex work is contained in the Muluki Ain 1963 which has not been officially translated to English. The act defines and criminalises trafficking but not prostitution.
In 2008 the Human Trafficking and Transportation (Control) Act, 2064, Act Number 5 of the Year 2064 (2008) was introduced which criminalises selling sex and living off the earnings of prostitution by including it in the definition of human trafficking.
Sex workers are arrested, detained and harassed by the police under laws dealing with disturbing public tranquility and peace or obscenity like the 'Some Public (Offences and Penalties) Act, 1970.
Chapter 14 of the Country Code titled 'Muluki Ain Regarding Rape, Chapter 14' addresses rape. It provides for less punishment where rape victims are prostitutes.
Buying sex is not illegal.
STI and HIV testing is offially voluntary and confidential.

Legal Approach(es)
  • C: It is illegal to sell sex and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Mongolia)
Characteristics:
  • 2: The law conflates sex work that does not involve coercion with sexual exploitation and human trafficking. (e.g. Nepal)
  • 3: Laws against prostitution and brothel keeping are complimented by regulations that recognise other businesses such as entertainment or personal services in which sex work can be organised under specific conditions. (e.g. Thailand)
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Netherlands

  • Despite a range of laws against prostitution and brothel keeping, sex work was tolerated in specific areas throughout the Netherlands until 2000 when sex businesses operations were formally legalized by an amendment to the Criminal Code (Article 250) that obliges brothels to be licensed and to comply with rules about safety, sanitation, fiscal accountability and health.  The stated aim of the law is to protect and improve the position of sex workers and prevent illegal immigrants from selling sex.  Thus employing minors, unwilling workers or those without work permits in the licensed brothels is specifically banned in addition to existing legal provisions making such employment unlawful. 
  • The Criminal Code also penalizes (Article 250a(1)(1).) 'traffic in persons' which is defined as involving by violence, threat of violence, abuse of authority, or misrepresentation to cause a person to prostitute himself or herself and causing a minor to engage in prostitution. 
  • Whereas migrant sex workers were tolerated before the law change enforcement now targets them to give effect to the aim of removing sex trafficked women from the visible sex industry and deporting those without permission to live in the country.
  • The impact of the law has been to divide the sex industry into two tiers - a legal/licensed sector and an illegal/underground sector.  In Amsterdam police are authorised to conduct unannounced bi-monthly visits to brothels to check for illegal conduct and some brothels have had their licenses revoked for infractions of the code. Allegations of police misbehaviour are rare.
  • HIV and STI testing are officially voluntary.
  • Buying sex is not illegal.
Legal Approach(es)
  • H: It is illegal to sell sex and organise commercial sex except where permission is given by a licensing authority that applies conditions such as health provisions and restrictions on how and where the person or business can operate (eg Senegal)
Characteristics:

New Zealand

  • In 2003 the Prostitution Reform Act removed previous offenses related to operating brothels and escort agencies and soliciting and replaced them with a mix of regulations and criminal laws aimed at reducing unprotected sex and the involvement of minors, migrants and non-consenting persons.
  • Contracts between sex workers and clients are recognised in civil law and the providers have the right to refuse services. Contested contracts can be referred to the Disputes Tribunal.
  • Advertising is banned with the exception of print media which is restricted. 
  • Sex workers can apply for previous convictions to be removed from the record.
  • The Summary Offences Act remains in place so that sex workers who behave offensively in public places can still be charged with an offense.  
  • Although prostitution is not an offence for a person under 18, it is illegal for anyone else to profit from the prostitution of a minor or cause or encourage them to sell sex and to buy sex from minors.
  • People on temporary visas are prohibited from selling sex or investing in the sex industry. 
  • Special workplace safety and health regulations are enforced by the Ministry of Health. 
  • It is an offence for a client and sex worker to have sex without using a barrier to pretect them against HIV and STIs.  
  • There have been convictions against HIV+ people who have had unprotected sex without declaring their HIV status to the partner before having sex.
  •  in other employment, labour disputes can be referred to the Labour Inspectorate and Mediation Service.
  • Brothel operators must be of good character and be registered.
  • Sex work is recognised by the welfare system but vacancies in brothels cannot be advertised and the government employment agency does not suggest sex work as an alternative to welfare.
  • HIV and STI testing are voluntary.
  • Buying sex is not illegal. 
Legal Approach(es)
  • K: It is illegal to buy or sell sex if no precautions are taken against sexually transmitted infections. (eg New Zealand)
Characteristics:
  • 9: There are laws to prevent women living with HIV from selling sex or requiring them to disclose their HIV status to clients (e.g. USA)

Nigeria

Procuring for prostitution; knowingly living on the earnings of the prostitution of others; habitually being in the company of a prostitute or exercising control, and direction over a sex worker; keeping or managing a brothel or being the tenant, lessee, or occupier of a place used for purposes of habitual prostitution are illegal. (Sections 220-225 Criminal Code of Nigeria 1990)
Another provision makes it illegal for anyone including an occupier to permit premises to be used for habitual prostitution. (225b)
Selling sex is made illegal by a law that defines commercial sex as 'carnal knowledge' which is illegal, immoral sex.
Carnal knowledge necessarily involves 'complete penetration'.
Detaining a woman or girl against her will in a brothel carries a maximum penalty of two year imprisonment for two years and the presence of any woman or girl in a brothel is deemed to be such detention. Section 231 criminalises indecent acts in public places.
Anal sex is an 'Offence Against Morality' This makes it illegal for any person to permt a male to have 'carnal knowledge of him or her against the order of nature (S21.3)
The most commonly used law is Section 249 that deems prostitutes and others 'found at times and in circumstances as to lead to the conclusion that such person is there for an illegal or disorderly purpose to be'rogues and vagabonds' This is a misdemeanor offence which means that it does not carry a jail term and may be dealt with by police rather than a court.
Buying sex is not illegal
HIV and STI testing are officially voluntary and confidential.

Legal Approach(es)
  • C: It is illegal to sell sex and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Mongolia)
Characteristics:
  • 5: The definition of prostitution is applied to limited sex acts (e.g. Japan)
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Norway

The Norwegian General Civil Penal Code makes it illegal

To promote the engagement of other persons in prostitution and to let premises for prostitution or is grossly negligent in this respect.
To make a public announcement that offers, arranges or asks for prostitution shall be liable to fines or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months.
To procure sexual intercourse or any other sexual act, for himself/herself or for another person, in return for payment or agreement to provide payment.
Induce someone to carry out acts that are equivalent to sexual intercourse with himself/herself
To force, threaten or abuse another person’s vulnerability or exploit another person for the purpose of prostitution or other sexual purposes or who induces another person to allow himself or herself to be used for such purposes shall be guilty of human trafficking. If the sexual intercourse or act has been particularly humiliating in its nature, but it is not punishable under any other law, the punishment is imprisonment for a term of up to 1 year.
Section 27 of the Immigration Act states that foreigners can be deported for breaches of the peace which includes buying and selling sex.
All income is taxable, including income from prostitution.
Sex workers consider the laws unacceptable and say that they drive multiple human rights abuses including evictions of sex workers from their homes.
HIV testing is voluntary and confidential.

Legal Approach(es)
  • B: It is illegal to buy and sell sex and to organise commercial sex in any place (advertising, living off immoral earnings, operating a brothel, procuring etc) (eg Vietnam)
Characteristics:
  • 2: The law conflates sex work that does not involve coercion with sexual exploitation and human trafficking. (e.g. Nepal)
  • 6: The law is gender neutral so may be applied to men who sell sex.
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Pakistan

  • Both buying and selling sex are criminalised by laws forbidding sex outside of marriage and adultery by married people.
  • Power to deal with a range of 'social evils' is devolved to local governments, village councils and neighborhood councils who can then enact different ordinances to deal with soliciting or procuring for prostitution; permitting prostitution in places of public amusement and brothel keeping.
  • Public order and pulblic morality laws are used by police to arrest, detain and fine sex workers. 
  • Police corruption and violence have been documented. Transgender and migrant sex workers have been shown to be at greatest risk of abuse.
  • In some places large formal brothel complexes exist despite the law. They are reported to be controlled by police and local business interest.
  • In 2009 the Supreme Court ruled that government recognise hijras as a third sex and recognize their entitlements to welfare and other forms of state support.
  • STI and HIV testing are officially voluntary although that may not be the case in practice in some areas. 
Legal Approach(es)
  • B: It is illegal to buy and sell sex and to organise commercial sex in any place (advertising, living off immoral earnings, operating a brothel, procuring etc) (eg Vietnam)
  • H: It is illegal to sell sex and organise commercial sex except where permission is given by a licensing authority that applies conditions such as health provisions and restrictions on how and where the person or business can operate (eg Senegal)
Characteristics:
  • 7: Different state or district level governments within one country can make rules on sex work so they are not uniform throughout the country. (e.g. Australia)
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Panama

  • Sex work is legal and regulated. Sex workers are required to register and carry identification cards but the majority of prostitutes were not registered.
  • Buying sex is not illegal.

              If you can provide further information about the law and its enforcement please go to the "Feedback" form on the home page of this map.

              Si se puede dar más información acerca de la ley y su aplicación por favor vaya a la forma de "Feedback" en la página principal de este mapa. 

Legal Approach(es)
  • H: It is illegal to sell sex and organise commercial sex except where permission is given by a licensing authority that applies conditions such as health provisions and restrictions on how and where the person or business can operate (eg Senegal)
Characteristics:
  • 3: Laws against prostitution and brothel keeping are complimented by regulations that recognise other businesses such as entertainment or personal services in which sex work can be organised under specific conditions. (e.g. Thailand)

Papua New Guinea

The Summary Offences Act 1977 provides offences for living on the earnings of prostitution; keeping a brothel and letting or permitting premises to be used for the purposes of prostitution. The Criminal Code makes it illegal to keep a place of any kind for purposes of prostitution.In 1975, the PNG Law Reform Commission recommended that the offence of ‘soliciting’ not be included in the new Summary Offences Act. The Commission’s intention was that
sex work itself should be decriminalized, while others who profited from sex work should remain criminalized. However a 1978 court decision that interpreted the scope of the offence of ‘living on the earnings of prostitution’ to include sex workers, as well as other persons who profit from employing sex workers. That means that it is an offense to profit from one's own prostitution not only the prostitution of others.

Formal law enforcement does not reach most of the country and customary law applies instead. Where there are police, high levels of police corruption and violence have been reported. Violence, rape, discrimination and extortion are consistently reported by sex workers in both urban and rural areas. Lack of accessible health services and discrimination prevents many sex workers attending sexual health clinics STI and HIV testing are officially Buying sex is not illegal.

Legal Approach(es)
  • C: It is illegal to sell sex and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Mongolia)
Characteristics:
  • 7: Different state or district level governments within one country can make rules on sex work so they are not uniform throughout the country. (e.g. Australia)
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Peru

  • It is an offense to operate a brothel unless it has a license.
  • It is an offense to sell sex without being registered to do so. To register as a sex worker women must be over 18 years of age and free of HIV and STIs.
  • A card is issued to confirm recent attendance for mandatory HIV and STI testing. NGO outreach workers provide antibiotics as STI prophylaxis to sex workers in some parts of the country. 
  • Law enforcement is inconsistent and, according to sex worekrs police are corrupt and frequently violent especially to transwomen. 
  • There are both legal/formal and illegal/informal sectors on the sex industry.
  • It is not illegal to buy sex.
Legal Approach(es)
  • H: It is illegal to sell sex and organise commercial sex except where permission is given by a licensing authority that applies conditions such as health provisions and restrictions on how and where the person or business can operate (eg Senegal)
Characteristics:
  • 1: There are laws or regulations that require sex workers to undergo medical examination (e.g. Latvia)
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)
  • 9: There are laws to prevent women living with HIV from selling sex or requiring them to disclose their HIV status to clients (e.g. USA)

Philippines

Profiting from prostitution is made illegal by the Revised Penal Code.

Local ordinances license 'entertainment establishments' including “night clubs, sauna, massage clinics, discotheques, videoke/karaoke bars, cocktail lounges, beer gardens, pub houses and other establishments wherein the services of hired entertainers are employed and patrons are entertained” (Ordinance no. 09, Series 2000, General Santos City).

Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code covers immoral doctrines, obscene publications and exhibitions and indecent shows. It is used by police to raid entertainment establishments.

Soliciting for sex is defined as loitering without lawful or justifiable purpose. It is made illegal under the law of vagrancy in which Article 202(5) defines prostitutes as vagrants.

The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 defines of ‘trafficking’. It is an offence to recruit, transport, transfer, harbour, provide, or receive a person by any means for the purpose of prostitution, or to maintain or hire a person to engage in prostitution regardless of that person's consent.

The Philippine Sanitation Code requires all massage parlour workers to have a health certificate issued by the local health authority. Establishment-based sex workers
are required under the local ordinances to attend Social Hygiene Clinics [SHC] to undergo regular testing for STIs. Only those who give their consent are tested for HIV due to the law that prohibits mandatory HIV testing. The penalty for non-compliance with regular testing is however the withholding of the Social Hygiene Clinic issued health card that gives them the license to work in the entertainment venue, so testing is in fact mandatory.

Sex business managers are involved in the monitoring of sex workers health tests because non-compliant establishments run the risk of having their license to operate revoked.
Cebu City has made the use of condoms mandatory and required 'entertainments' venues to supply them. (City Ordinance #1952)

Sex workers report being subject to violence or harassment by police, city officials and gangsters.

It is not illegal to buy sex.

Legal Approach(es)
  • C: It is illegal to sell sex and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Mongolia)
  • K: It is illegal to buy or sell sex if no precautions are taken against sexually transmitted infections. (eg New Zealand)
Characteristics:
  • 1: There are laws or regulations that require sex workers to undergo medical examination (e.g. Latvia)
  • 2: The law conflates sex work that does not involve coercion with sexual exploitation and human trafficking. (e.g. Nepal)
  • 3: Laws against prostitution and brothel keeping are complimented by regulations that recognise other businesses such as entertainment or personal services in which sex work can be organised under specific conditions. (e.g. Thailand)
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)
  • 9: There are laws to prevent women living with HIV from selling sex or requiring them to disclose their HIV status to clients (e.g. USA)

Poland

  • It is illegal to operate a brothel, to live off the profit from someone else's sex work; to force a person to sell sex ( art. 203 penal Code); to induce a person to sell sex (art.204) and to benefit from the prostitution of another person ( art.204)
  • It is not illegal to buy or sell sex.
  • Despite selling sex not being illegal, prostitution is not recognized as legitimate work so sex workers can neither pay tax or claim social benefits. This has created a legal anomaly whereby large numbers of people have reported their occupation as “prostitute”.
  • Some hotels register the ID cards of sex workers who are allowed to use the premises.
  • Although HIV testing is not mandatory it is illegal to expose a person to HIV or STIs (art 161)
Legal Approach(es)
  • F: It is illegal to organise commercial sex. (eg Brazil)
Characteristics:
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Portugal

  • In 2001 the government announced that buying and selling sex would not be crimes, but Article 170 of the Penal Code (known as the Lenocínio or Living off Immoral Earnings) makes it illegal to profit, promote, encourage or facilitate the prostitution of another and there are increased penalties when the offence is aggravated by violence, serious threat, deception, fraud or abuse of authority.
  • The law could apply to organizing, employing or exploiting male sex workers but it is not enforced that way. Violence and discrimination continues particularly for transwomen and migrant sex workers.
  • Buying sex is not illegal.
  • HIV testing is voluntary and confidential.
Legal Approach(es)
  • F: It is illegal to organise commercial sex. (eg Brazil)
Characteristics:
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Romania

  • It is illegal to facilitate prostitution or obtaining economic benefits from prostitution. (Article 213 of the Penal Code 2014) 
  • Because selling sex was itself a crime in previous versions of the Code the 2014 law reform was characterised as legalisation of sex work.
  • Sex workers can be charged with vagrancy and other public order laws.
  • Sex workers have claimed that law enforcement is corrupt, that police are often violent and that there is no effective protection for them against violence and trafficking.  
  • It is not illegal to buy sex.
  • HIV and STI testing are officialy voluntary and confidential. 
Legal Approach(es)
  • F: It is illegal to organise commercial sex. (eg Brazil)
Characteristics:
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Russia

  • The Code of Administrative Offences prohibits 'engagement in prostitution' (Article 6.1.1) and 'Deriving Income from Engagement in Prostitution, Where This Income Is Connected with Another Person's Engagement in Prostitution' (Article 6.12).  
  • The Criminal Code makes it illegal to keep brothels and organise prostitution. (articles 240 and 241)
  • The laws are rarely used and there is a large, open sex industry in many parts of the country due to widespread police corruption.
  • In May 2013, Russia's national organization of sex workers, Silver Rose, was denied NGO registration by Russia's Ministry of Justice. The Ministry declared that 'there is no such profession as sex work,'accusing Silver Rose of 'campaigning and propaganda inciting social, racial, national and or religious hatred and enmity' (Article 29 of the Constitution) and 'organization of prostitution" (see above)
  • Although there is no formal provision for mandatory medical examinations, sex workers have suggested that local police and health workers together create and enforce rules aimed at removing infected women from the sex industry.
  • It is not illegal to buy sex.
Legal Approach(es)
  • C: It is illegal to sell sex and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Mongolia)
Characteristics:

Senegal

  • Public soliciting to sell sex and brothel keeping are illegal but since 1966 it has been legal for individual women over 21 to sell sex if they register with the police and submit to regular medical examinations for STIs and HIV tests.  Registered sex workers must carry a card stating that they are disease free which is issued when they attend for STI and HIV testing.
  • Estimates of the portion of the total sex worker population registered vary from 8 to 25%.
  • Law enforcement and application of these 'sanitation' rules is weak. Sex workers report police targeting them for bribes and free sex regardless of whether they are registered not. Senegal's approach has been lauded for keeping HIV rates low among sex workers but this is only true of the registered sector while the situation among the majority of unregistered sex workers, is unknown.
  • Buying sex is not illegal except insofar as it may contravene Sharia law.
  • Selling and brokering commercial sex is criminalised by the Sexual Offences Act which states that any person who who keeps a brothel, or has unlawful carnal intercourse, or commits an act of indecency with any other person for reward, is guilty of an offence (Sections 1 & 20). A 2007 Amendment to the Act criminalises clients. (Section 11) It also makes it an offence to entice the commission of immoral acts andsoliciting or importuning in public (Section 19) and to  live on earnings of prostitution or commit or assist in the commission of indecent acts. (Section 20)
Legal Approach(es)
  • H: It is illegal to sell sex and organise commercial sex except where permission is given by a licensing authority that applies conditions such as health provisions and restrictions on how and where the person or business can operate (eg Senegal)
Characteristics:

Singapore

  • It is illegal to solicit in public to sell sex, to live on the earnings of a prostitute and to maintain a brothel.
  • In practice, police tolerate and monitor a limited number of brothels including requiring workers in them to undergo periodic health checks and carry a ‘health card’.
  • It is an offence under the Infectious Disease Act for a person living with HIV to engage in activities that could pass on HIV to another person.
  • The law is not used in respect of male sex work but is used against transwomen who sell sex.
  • It is not illegal to buy sex.
Legal Approach(es)
  • D: It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Argentina)
Characteristics:
  • 1: There are laws or regulations that require sex workers to undergo medical examination (e.g. Latvia)
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Slovakia

The criminal code (No. 300/2005) makes it illegal to operate a brothel and to coerce or traffic women for sexual exploitation.
Neither buying nor selling sex are criminalized.
Public order offences are used to against women who sell sex on the streets and to confine them to specific areas.
HIV testing is officially confidential.
There is a law against transmitting HIV but it has not been used since 2015.
Sex workers have reported abuses by police and public and inability to effectively report crimes.

Legal Approach(es)
  • F: It is illegal to organise commercial sex. (eg Brazil)
Characteristics:
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

South Africa

<ul><li>Selling sex is made illegal by several national laws and some municipal regulations.&nbsp;</li><li>The 1957 Sexual Offences Act makes indecency and 'carnal intercourse'illegal.&nbsp;</li><li>Any person who resides, manages or assists in the management of any brothel; receives any share of any moneys taken in a brothel; is a<em>&nbsp;</em>tenant, occupier or owner of premises and&nbsp;<em>'</em>any person found in a brothel who refuses to disclose the name and identity of the keeper or manager thereof' Unless formally separated the spouse of any of those people is also guilty of brothel keeping.&nbsp;</li><li>Procuring for prostitution is an offense whether or not it involves co-ercion.</li><li>Buying sex was made illegal by a 2007 ammendment to the Sexual Offences Act. &nbsp;</li><li>A 1967 amendment to the Act makes it a crime to assist a person to communicate with another person for the purpose of sex for reward. This law is aimed at escort agencies.</li><li>Sex workers have limited legal rights although there has been a case of a woman successfully suing the operator of an illegal brothel for unfair dismissal. &nbsp;</li><li> Law enforcement is poor and fails to protect sex workers from violence and abuse. &nbsp;</li><li>HIV and STI testing is officially voluntary although there have been reports of police forcing sex workers to have HIV tests.</li></ul>

Legal Approach(es)
  • C: It is illegal to sell sex and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Mongolia)
Characteristics:

South Korea

  • In 2004 buying, selling and organising commercial sex were criminalised by the Act on the Punishment of Acts of Arranging Sexual Traffic and the Enforcement Decree of the Act on the Prevention of Sexual Traffic and Protection, etc. of Victims Thereof.  Prior to that sex work was tolerated in specific red-light areas and sex workers were registered with health authorities and required to submit  to periodic tests for STI and HIV.
  • This law defines all sexual intercourse in exchange for money or goods as a form of human trafficking.  To escape punishment sex workers must prove that they were coerced into providing sexual services. 
  • Police crackdowns from 2004-2009 resulted in the arrest of approximately 28,000 sex workers,150,000 clients, and 27,000 sex business owners of whom 4 percent were imprisoned. The Ministry of Justice operates schools for convicted male clients of sex workers who may attend seminars in lieu of punishment. Brothels were closed despite protests by sex workers. 
Legal Approach(es)
  • B: It is illegal to buy and sell sex and to organise commercial sex in any place (advertising, living off immoral earnings, operating a brothel, procuring etc) (eg Vietnam)
Characteristics:
  • 2: The law conflates sex work that does not involve coercion with sexual exploitation and human trafficking. (e.g. Nepal)
  • 3: Laws against prostitution and brothel keeping are complimented by regulations that recognise other businesses such as entertainment or personal services in which sex work can be organised under specific conditions. (e.g. Thailand)
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Sri Lanka

  • Living off the earning of a sex worker and operating a brothel are illegal.
  • The definition of a brothel includes displays of photographs of female sex workers who are located at, or supplied from, another place.
  • The Penal Code makes it illegal to procure for sex work.  
  • The Convention on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Women and Children for Prostitution Act, 2005 also criminalises sex work by defining trafficking to include consenting as well as co-erced sex work.  
  • It is illegal to solicit in or near a public place for the commission of illicit sexual intercourse or indecency. (S 263) If the offender is a female, the Court can send her to a detention home instead of a prison.
  • The Vagrants Ordinance also creates offences for sex workers who are found 'wandering in the public street or highway, or in any place of public resort, and behaving in a riotous or indecent manner'. The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has formally expressed concerns about this law leading to arbitrary arrests in Sri Lanka.
  • An apparent shift from brothels, hotels, lodges and restaurants to indirect settings such as karaoke bars, massage parlors and private houses has been attributed to police and military vigilance to combat terrorism that has led to frequent security checks made soliciting more difficult.
  • NGOs have claimed that police arrest and harass sex workers and obstruct HIV prevention efforts.
  • Various abuses in detention centres to which arrested women are sent for administrative sentences have also been reported. Women who have no guardian to collect them from detention or money for bribes are detained in the centres for longer periods  or released to people that will exploit them.
  • Mandatory HIV testing of arrested sex workers has been reported
Legal Approach(es)
  • B: It is illegal to buy and sell sex and to organise commercial sex in any place (advertising, living off immoral earnings, operating a brothel, procuring etc) (eg Vietnam)
Characteristics:
  • 2: The law conflates sex work that does not involve coercion with sexual exploitation and human trafficking. (e.g. Nepal)
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Sudan

Buying, selling and brokering sex are criminalised by the Sudanese Penal Code
Under Article 154 of the Code whoever is found in a house of prostitution in a way that shows he may practise sexual acts or live off the earnings of prostitution is guilty of a crime.
A place of prostitution is defined as any place men and women who are neither married nor relatives gather amid circumstances that make the purchase of sex possible.
HIV testing is officially confidential but access to it is very poor.
Sex workers are subject to violence and some pay bribes.

Legal Approach(es)
  • B: It is illegal to buy and sell sex and to organise commercial sex in any place (advertising, living off immoral earnings, operating a brothel, procuring etc) (eg Vietnam)
Characteristics:
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Suriname

Legal Approach(es)
Characteristics:

Sweden

  • Brothel keeping, procuring, living off immoral earnings and purchasing sex from a woman are illegal in the Swedish Penal Code.
  • Section 11, introduced in 1999 has gained much attention for criminalising clients consistent with the Swedish government view that demand for women's sexual services is an unacceptable expression of male dominance to which women cannot legally consent. 
  • The law is relatively consistently enforced and judges, politicians and other prominent men have been charged.  The law has resulted in changes to the operation of the sex industry.  There have been passionate debates about the impact of the law in the wake of the Swedish government, some NGOs and UN agencies campaigning for it to be introduced in other countries.
  • Sex workers have argued that the law means they must work in more dangerous situations and that it has increased discrimination and violence.
  • STI and HIV testing are officially voluntary and confidential.
Legal Approach(es)
  • E: It is illegal to buy sex and to organise commercial sex in any place (eg Sweden)
Characteristics:
  • 2: The law conflates sex work that does not involve coercion with sexual exploitation and human trafficking. (e.g. Nepal)

Switzerland

  • Sex work is recognised as an ordinary form of economic activity. Sex workers and business operatora are subject to taxation and regulations in respect of social security contributions. 
  • Where prostitution is addressed in the criminal law it is confined to situations in which there is coercion or child sexual exploitation.
  • Switzerland is a federal system and Article 199 of the Code gives local authorities (Cantons) the right to impose laws or regulations to prevent public nuisance. This has resulted in areas designated for street sex work and requirement for sex businesses and premises to comply with various health, location and labour standards. Some local laws or regulations require sex workers to register with the police or department of commerce and some forbid sex workers entering into employment contracts. 
  • Police inspect the sex industry for evidence of abuse or failure to comply with regulations.
  • Some sex workers have complained that this 'economic freedom' model makes it more difficult for independent sex workers and stimulates the creation of sex businesses without making proper provision for the rights of employees in them.   
  • Buying sex is not illegal. 
  • STI and HIV testing are officially voluntary.
Legal Approach(es)
  • I: It is illegal to organise and to sell sexual services except within specific buildings or zones, or away from designated buildings and zones. (eg Switzerland)
Characteristics:
  • 7: Different state or district level governments within one country can make rules on sex work so they are not uniform throughout the country. (e.g. Australia)

Tajikistan

  • Soliciting to sell sex in a public place is a misdemeanor crime.
  • Brothel keeping and procuring are illegal.
  • In 2014 the Interior Minister instructed police to crackdown on sex workers and raid brothels and to medically test sex workers for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases. Sex workers reported forced medical procedures, rape, sexual humiliation and police officers demanding sex in exchange for releasing women from detention.
  • Buying sex is not illegal
Legal Approach(es)
  • D: It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Argentina)
Characteristics:
  • 1: There are laws or regulations that require sex workers to undergo medical examination (e.g. Latvia)

Thailand

  • The Prostitution Prevention and Suppression Act of 1996 Sections 5 & 6 make it illegal to manage or sell sex in a 'prostitution establishment' 
  • 'Openly and shamelessly' offering sexual services in public places is illegal. 
  • Sex workers may be fined or jailed and it is illegal to associate with another person in a prostitution establishment for the benefit of the prostitution of that person. 
  • Advertising oneself, or another person, as a sex worker is illegal (S 7)
  • Courts have the power to order rehabilitation at a Protection and Occupational Development Centre as an alternative to punishment.
  • The Act also prohibits procuring sex workers (even with their consent), managing sex work businesses or establishments recruiting or arranging the prostitution of others for profit  The Entertainment Places Act 1966 regulates massage parlours, karaoke bars etc. The Act does not permit sex work but legitimizes  and disguises business.  Under the Act owners are required to register their premises and employees with the police to whom sex workers must provide  family history, fingerprints and a photo. There are no provisions for working conditions, labour rights or health and safety standards under the Act.
  • National, provincial and local health regulations and policies also impact on sex workers. In some tourist areas that have been declared 'Special Administrative Zones'  'bothering tourists'; regulations under the 'Social Order Policy' that influence working hours, zoning, etc.; and local council regulations that can control sex workers conditions, e.g., dress codes.
  • Buying sex is not illegal.
  • STI and HIV testing are officially voluntary.
Legal Approach(es)
  • D: It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Argentina)
Characteristics:
  • 3: Laws against prostitution and brothel keeping are complimented by regulations that recognise other businesses such as entertainment or personal services in which sex work can be organised under specific conditions. (e.g. Thailand)
  • 7: Different state or district level governments within one country can make rules on sex work so they are not uniform throughout the country. (e.g. Australia)
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Timor Leste

  • Prostitution is defined as sexual exploitation, even where there is consent.
  • Article 174 of the Penal Code 2009 makes it illegal derive profit or any person who makes a livelihood from, promotes, facilitates, or by any other means, contributes toward engaging another person in prostitution or other sexual acts, Heavier penalties apply where the exploitation constitutes trafficking which is defined as occurring where there is abandonment or economic necessity of the victim; violence, serious threats or coercion or displacement of the victim.
  • Article 163 eliminates the distinction between consenting sex work and trafficking. It deems that 'Consent of the victim to trafficking is irrelevant if use of threats, force or other forms of coercion, kidnapping, fraud, trickery, abuse of power or situation of vulnerability, or delivery or acceptance of payments or benefits, were employed to obtain consent. 
  • Law enforcement is weak. Although selling sex is not illegal, sex workers are frequently arrested for public order offenses. 
  • There have been claims that arrests are frequently illegal and reports of periodic police raids of commercial sex establishments. 
  • The official enforcement policy appears to focus on foreign sex workers and most of those arrested are deported.  Human rights advocates have observed that this approach fails to distinguish between trafficked persons and non-coerced, adult sex workers.
  • HIV and STI testing are officially voluntary.
Legal Approach(es)
  • D: It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Argentina)
Characteristics:
  • 2: The law conflates sex work that does not involve coercion with sexual exploitation and human trafficking. (e.g. Nepal)
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Trinidad and Tobago

  • The 1956 Sexual Offences Act criminalises brothel keeping, procuring and public soliciting for sex.
  • It is illegal for men to live off the earnings of prostitution and for women to exercise control, direction or influence over a sex worker's movements in a way which shows she is aiding, abetting or compelling her pro
  • Section 17 of the Act prohibits procurement of a person for the purpose of sexual intercourse with another person, and procuring a person to become an inmate of a brothel or to frequent a brothel.
  • Section 22 makes it an offense to keep, or manage or acts to assist in the management of a brothel or to be a tenant, occupier or landlord of premises used as a brothel or for the purposes of prostitution.
  • Section 23 makes it illegal to solicit for immoral purposes in any place.
  • It is not illegal to buy sex. 
  • HIV and STI testing are offically voluntary and confidential. 
 
 
Legal Approach(es)
  • C: It is illegal to sell sex and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Mongolia)
Characteristics:

Tunisia

Sex work is regulated Article 231 of the Tunisian Penal Code 1942 law which identifies obligations of sex workers and brothel managers in resect of medical administration.
To register as a sex worker a woman must be over 18, unmarried and certified to be mentally capable and negative to 'infectious or septic' diseases.
Registered sex workers are allowed to work in their private residences or tolerated brothels. Brothels can lose their licenses if a sex worker is employed who has not submitted to a medical check.
There are limits on advertising and location and workplace regulations are in place, including that buildings must be ventilated and lit and hygienic
It has been reported that most sex workers avoid registration
A 1997 Tunisian Ministry of Interior a decree make sit illegal for a 'women who, by gestures or words, solicit themselves to passers-by or engage in prostitution, even on an occasional basis'
Sex workers have claimed that law enforcement is abusive and inconsistent.
It is not illegal to buy sex except insofar as it may contravene Sharia law.

Legal Approach(es)
  • H: It is illegal to sell sex and organise commercial sex except where permission is given by a licensing authority that applies conditions such as health provisions and restrictions on how and where the person or business can operate (eg Senegal)
Characteristics:
  • 1: There are laws or regulations that require sex workers to undergo medical examination (e.g. Latvia)
  • 3: Laws against prostitution and brothel keeping are complimented by regulations that recognise other businesses such as entertainment or personal services in which sex work can be organised under specific conditions. (e.g. Thailand)
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Turkey

  • Sex work is regulated by article 227 of the Turkish Penal Code (Law No. 5237); Annexed Article 13 of the Social Security Law and regulated by Articles 128 and 129 of the Public Health Law and General Regulations regarding Brothels and Prostitution and the Fight Against Venereal Disease) No: 30/03/1961.
  • These provisions entitle women to register as sex workers and allow brothels and strip clubs to be licensed and registered. 'Promoting prostitution' is a catch all provision that makes all sex work related activities outside of registered brothels, including selling sex, illegal. 
  • Non registered sex workers can be arrested and forcibly registered and delivered to a registered brothel. 
  • Registered sex workers pay taxes and social security, and submit to regular STI and HIV tests.
  • Sex workers must exchange their national ID card for a 'health card' that is stamped when they attend for medical examinations.   
  • Co-ercion of women into sex work is criminalised by Articles 435 and 436 of the Turkish Penal Code.
  • Most sex workers are not registered. Most women work illegally and sex workers rights activists have reported harassment, police violence and fines, penalties and extortion.
  • Government policy has become less favorable to the sex industry and licensed brothels are increasingly being closed
  • Buying sex is not illegal.
Legal Approach(es)
  • H: It is illegal to sell sex and organise commercial sex except where permission is given by a licensing authority that applies conditions such as health provisions and restrictions on how and where the person or business can operate (eg Senegal)
Characteristics:
  • 1: There are laws or regulations that require sex workers to undergo medical examination (e.g. Latvia)
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Uganda

  • The Penal Code Act of Uganda criminalises knowingly living wholly or in part on the earnings of prostitution; keeping a house or room for purposes of prostitution
  • Soliciting for 'immoral purposes' is illegal in any place.
  • Soliciting to sell sex or repeatedly or habitually using a place for prostitution is illegal.
  • Because the prostitution offenses carry penalties of up to seven years in prison they are cumbersome and expensive to prosecute so sex workers are more likely to be charged under an 'Idle and Disorderly' law that prohibits any person being a prostitute behaving in a disorderly or indecent manner in any public place...' (Section 167)
  • Law enforcement is inconsistent and there are persistent reports of detention without charge, unlawful arrests, demands for bribes and free sex.  Sex workers have complained that they are not told the reasons for their arrest and of police confiscating condoms as evidence.
  • It is not illegal to buy sex.
  • Although HIV testing is officially voluntary sex workers have said that arrested sex workers can be tested against their will.

 

Legal Approach(es)
  • C: It is illegal to sell sex and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Mongolia)
Characteristics:
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Ukraine

  • The Criminal code makes it illegal to create or maintain a brothel, to live off the prostitution of another and to pander (Art. 302) Coercion into prostitution is also illegal (Art. 303) 
  • The Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offenses makes selling sex an offense that can be punished by a warning or a fine.
  • It is not illegal to buy sex.
  • Law enforcement is extremely corrupt and violent and its links with organised crime impacts significantly on sex workers.
  • Although HIV testing is officially confidential in practice sex workers HIV results are distributed including to police.
Legal Approach(es)
  • D: It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Argentina)
Characteristics:
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

United Kingdom

It is illegal to •Operate a brothel. A brothel is defined as a place where more than one women sells sex. • Live off the earnings of a prostitute or to control and direct prostitutes. •Solicit to sell or buy sex in public places. •Cause or incite prostitution for gain and to buy sex from a trafficked person. In theory sex workers have similar legal rights as other citizens but they cannot claim labor rights because managing a sex business or profiting from sex work is illegal. Sex workers complain of having their possessions taken by police as a result of a the 2002 Profits of Crime Act that authorizes confiscation of wages paid by a brothel and any other property purchased with money earned by a sex worker. Local police and other authorities are authorised to make policy about how law and local regulations are applied in their area. There are occasional local crackdowns on street sex work while it is tolerated or contained at other times/places. Although there are some complaints about police behaviour, especially in relation to migrants, law enforcement is not notably violent or corrupt. Laws against small brothels and escort agencies are not strictly enforced and the government claims that the law enforcement priority is to reduce child sexual exploitation and human trafficking. STI and HIV testing are officially voluntary.
Legal Approach(es)
  • J: It is illegal to solicit to buy or sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place (eg UK, Fiji)
Characteristics:
  • 7: Different state or district level governments within one country can make rules on sex work so they are not uniform throughout the country. (e.g. Australia)

Uruguay

  • Uruguay's 2002 Sex Work Law (Law no. 1 7,515) explicitly states that sex work is legal and specifies the conditions in which it can take place.  
  • The law obliges government department to provide advice to sex workers about their rights and duties, and to support them in any legal action which would protect them against exploitation and to provide sexual and health education among sex workers.  
  • One of the 'duties' of sex workers is to undergo regular HIV ans STI testing
  • Ministries of Health and the Interior rather than police are empowered to enforce rules to prevent STIs and labour exploitation
  • The law creates a confidential National Registry of Sex Workers that may only by government agencies to enforce provisions of Law no. 1 7,515. Women may register voluntarily or have their name placed on the register by an enforcement agency if they are selling sex without having registered.  Article 31 provides penalties for women who sell sex without posessing the current health care card.
  • Local municipalities can establish public areas where sex work is premitted in consultation with sex workers organisations. Such areas may not be near educational institutions and must be sensitive to local amenity. They may also regulate working hours, clothing and behavior to avoid offending 'the families of the neighborhood or prove harmful to children or adolescents'.
  • Brothels and commercial sex bars are premitted so long as they obtain a license, comply with the social security rules and so not employ people under 18 in any capacity. Gambling and 'all kinds of noisy fun' (diversión ruidosa) are prohibited in brothels and bars must have permission of local police.
  • There are provisions to prevent sex being sold in theraputic massage venues. Brothel signs must not be harmful to morals or public order.
  • The law creates a 'National Honorary Commission for the Protection of Sex Work' that includes two sex worker representatives to oversee operations of rules about sex work.
  • Both sex workers and people who operate venues are liable to fines for infractions of the rules in this law.  
  • In 1995, the social security institute Banco de Prevision Social (BPS) recognised sex work by women. 
  • In December 2009 a law passed that extended rights to men and transwomen who sell sex.
  • It is not illegal to buy sex. 
Legal Approach(es)
  • H: It is illegal to sell sex and organise commercial sex except where permission is given by a licensing authority that applies conditions such as health provisions and restrictions on how and where the person or business can operate (eg Senegal)
  • I: It is illegal to organise and to sell sexual services except within specific buildings or zones, or away from designated buildings and zones. (eg Switzerland)
Characteristics:
  • 1: There are laws or regulations that require sex workers to undergo medical examination (e.g. Latvia)
  • 6: The law is gender neutral so may be applied to men who sell sex.
  • 7: Different state or district level governments within one country can make rules on sex work so they are not uniform throughout the country. (e.g. Australia)

USA

  • The United States is a federal system in which each state enacts different laws about sex work.  In most states all aspects of buying selling and organising sexual services are illegal. These are classified as pandering, procuring, promoting prostitution, solicitation, or agreeing to engage in an act of prostitution.
  • In some parts of Nevada brothels are licensed and subject to strict regulations including mandatory HIV and STI testing and curfews for employees.
  • The Mann Act of 1910 amended in 1986 criminalises interstate or foreign transport for any sexual activity.  Various State and Federal anti-trafficking provisions make prostitution related activities illegal despite the consent of the alleged victim.
  • Law enforcement can be both strict and uneven with people of colour, transgender, HIV positive indigenous and drug using sex workers particularly vulnerable to arrest and jail.
  • Although HIV and STI testing are officially voluntary, in some jurisdictions those arrested for prostitution can be forced to undergo medical examinations. In several states prostitution offences are treated as major crimes if the sex worker is HIV positive.  Condoms are used as evidence of sex work except in a few cities and states that have specifically ended the practice.
  • Although buying sex is not illegal throughout the country, gender neutral laws against soliciting for prostitution and other laws and policies are used to criminalise and/or discourage men who buy sex. This includes breaches of public order and decency laws and public shaming of clients.  
Legal Approach(es)
  • B: It is illegal to buy and sell sex and to organise commercial sex in any place (advertising, living off immoral earnings, operating a brothel, procuring etc) (eg Vietnam)
  • H: It is illegal to sell sex and organise commercial sex except where permission is given by a licensing authority that applies conditions such as health provisions and restrictions on how and where the person or business can operate (eg Senegal)
Characteristics:
  • 1: There are laws or regulations that require sex workers to undergo medical examination (e.g. Latvia)
  • 3: Laws against prostitution and brothel keeping are complimented by regulations that recognise other businesses such as entertainment or personal services in which sex work can be organised under specific conditions. (e.g. Thailand)
  • 7: Different state or district level governments within one country can make rules on sex work so they are not uniform throughout the country. (e.g. Australia)
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)
  • 9: There are laws to prevent women living with HIV from selling sex or requiring them to disclose their HIV status to clients (e.g. USA)

Venezuela

  • It is not illegal to sell or buy sex.
  • Operating a brothel is permitted so long as the women working in it are over 18 years old and undergo regular health checks.
  • It is illegal to ‘induce, facilitate, or promote prostitution or ‘corruption of another person to satisfy the passions of others’
  • Law enforcement is corrupt and violent and the police do not follow the law.

Si se puede dar más información acerca de la ley y su aplicación por favor vaya a la forma de "Feedback" en la página principal de este mapa 

Legal Approach(es)
  • H: It is illegal to sell sex and organise commercial sex except where permission is given by a licensing authority that applies conditions such as health provisions and restrictions on how and where the person or business can operate (eg Senegal)
Characteristics:
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Vietnam

  • The Ordinance on Prostitution Prevention and Control 2003 'strictly prohibits':
  1. buying and selling sex;
  2. harboring prostitution;
  3. organizing prostitution activities;
  4. forcing prostitution;
  5. brokering prostitution;
  6. protecting prostitution;
  7. abusing the service business for prostitution activities and other acts related to prostitution activities as prescribed by law.
  • Article 23 of the Ordinance provides that 'prostitutes shall, depending on the nature and seriousness of their violations, be administratively sanctioned, applied with the measure of education in communes, wards or townships or sent into medical treatment establishments. Foreign prostitutes shall, depending on the nature and seriousness of their violations, be administratively sanctioned in the forms of caution, fine and/or expulsion.'
  • Since 2011 the law has been supported by a policy named the National Programme of Action Prostitution 2011-2015. It aims to free communes and towns from sex work with law enforcement, vocational training and mass media dissemination of information about HIV and STIs.
  • According to reports from sex workers' networks in the region law enforcement is abusive and corrupt.
  • Businesses that allow prostitution can be heavily fined and condoms are discouraged because they can be used as evidence.
  • After arrests sex workers are sent to administrative rehabilitation centres that are in effect low security prisons for sentences from three to twenty eight months, The centres imposed a strict regime of mandatory unpaid labour and HIV and STI testing that violated human rights. In a move to what the government calls 'voluntary rehabilitation the Law on Administrative Sanctions in June 2012 required authorities to release all sex workers and in future fine them between US$14 and $240. Sex workers have said that to avoid arrest they pay bribes to police or work for third parties.
  • The government operates an HIV prevention programme for sex workers through police and public health agencies. It involves regular testing of all sex workers and social marketing of condoms.
Legal Approach(es)
  • B: It is illegal to buy and sell sex and to organise commercial sex in any place (advertising, living off immoral earnings, operating a brothel, procuring etc) (eg Vietnam)
Characteristics:
  • 1: There are laws or regulations that require sex workers to undergo medical examination (e.g. Latvia)
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)
  • 9: There are laws to prevent women living with HIV from selling sex or requiring them to disclose their HIV status to clients (e.g. USA)

Zambia

  • It is illegal to live off the earnings of a prostitute (S 146 Penal Code) to procure a women for prostitution (S 140) and to keep premises for the purposes of prostitution (S 149) 
  • Prostitution is not defined in Zambian legislation but courts have recognised it as lewdness for money on an habitual or vocational basis. 
  • Soliciting to sell sex is made illegal by the Public Order Act Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia which bans nuisance, idling and  disorderliness and carries jail sentences as well as fines. 
  • Sex workers have reported abusive and inconsistent law enforecement and made allegations of police corruption. 
  • Buying sex is not illegal
  • HIV and STI testing are officially voluntary and confidential. 
Legal Approach(es)
  • D: It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Argentina)
  • G: The law against prostitution is expressed as a law against 'debauchery', 'immorality' or other such term. (eg Zambia)
Characteristics:
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)

Zimbabwe

  • It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in public places.
  • It is illegal to procure a woman for prostitution, to keep a brothel and to living off immoral earnings.   
  • Law enforcement is highly corrupt according to sex workers. Violence is very common and is perpetuated by police and others. 
  • Buying sex is not illegal. 
  • HIV and STI testing are officially voluntary and confidential. 
Legal Approach(es)
  • D: It is illegal to solicit to sell sex in a public place and to organise commercial sex in any place. (eg Argentina)
Characteristics:
  • 8: Laws such as public disorder, vagrancy, loitering and state recognised religious provisions are used to prosecute women who sell sex. (e.g. Malaysia)