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Exit prostitution

So-called ‘exit’ programmes have been set up in several Nordic countries. The purpose of these programmes is to help women and men in prostitution to leave the sex industry. The project Exit Prostitution Work in the Nordic-Baltic Region aimed to gather knowledge from the support efforts that were made in the Nordic-Baltic region. In a next step, the ambition was to provide relevant organisations and decision-makers with information and education. This was accomplished through a workshop in London, a conference and communication through media.

The conference It’s Time to Pay! Are Prostitution Policies Failing the Most Vulnerable? Was held in Helsinki in 2015. The project also resulted in reinforced cooperation in the work to help sex workers leave the prostitution industry in the Nordic-Baltic region. The planning of an international conference on the same theme in Tallinn in 2017 was also initiated.

Nordic network against sex trade

The Swedish law prohibiting the purchase of sexual services went into effect in 1999 and has helped change the general view of prostitution. The law has become an important tool in the work against trafficking and has inspired other Nordic countries to change their approach. In 2009, Norway and Iceland passed similar laws, and in Denmark and Finland there is strong pressure to follow suit.

The network’s seminars at the Nordic Forum focused on the Nordic model and the resistance encountered in the work against the purchasing of sexual services. They also focused on the people who buy sex: Who are they? How do they justify their behaviour? How can attention be directed to the role of the buyer in prostitution? The seminar attracted a large crowd and the participants expressed that it gave them a good insight into why criminalisation of the purchase of sexual services is an important part of the work against prostitution.

The organisations that participated in the project gained increased knowledge about prostitution in the Nordic region and are continuing the work to spread the Nordic model together with organisations from across the Nordic region as well as Ireland and Germany.

Updated 21 November 2019