top of page
  • Writer's pictureThe Unfiltrd Team

Decriminalizing the Industry

Today we’re going to take a look at decriminalizing the sex work industry and why it is the better option over legalization. Decriminalization of sex work means the removal of laws that criminalize the buying and selling of sexual services. It does not mean that sex work is regulated or sanctioned by the government, but rather that sex work is treated like any other form of work. Legalization, on the other hand, involves the creation of a regulatory framework for the sex industry, which may include licensing, mandatory health checks, and zoning regulations.

Why it’s Better

  1. Decriminalization protects the human rights of sex workers: By removing laws that criminalize the buying and selling of sexual services, sex workers are able to access basic human rights such as healthcare, legal protection, and safety without fear of being arrested or prosecuted.

  2. Decriminalization improves public health: Decriminalization allows sex workers to access healthcare services such as STI testing, contraception, and HIV prevention. This not only benefits sex workers but also helps to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections to the wider community.

  3. Decriminalization reduces violence against sex workers: Criminalization of sex work pushes the trade underground, making it difficult for sex workers to seek help when they are subjected to violence or abuse. Decriminalization, on the other hand, enables sex workers to work more openly, and to seek help from the authorities when they are subjected to violence.

  4. Decriminalization recognizes sex work as work: Sex work is a form of work, and should be treated as such. Decriminalization would allow sex workers to exercise their labour rights, such as the right to safe working conditions, to form unions, and to access other labour protections.

Overall, decriminalization of sex work is considered to be a better approach than legalization, as it provides greater protection and human rights for sex workers while improving public health and safety.

How its Worked in Other Countries:

  1. In 2003, New Zealand decriminalized sex work, making it legal to sell and buy sexual services. The government created a regulatory framework that ensures that sex workers are protected from exploitation and abuse. The law has been successful in reducing stigma, increasing safety, and promoting the health and well-being of sex workers.

  2. Prostitution was decriminalized in Germany in 2002. Decriminalizing sex work has provided sex workers with greater legal protection and improved working conditions.

  3. The Netherlands is known for its tolerance of sex work, with a legal framework that regulates and protects sex workers. Decriminalizing sex work has led to a reduction in violence against sex workers and an increase in their access to healthcare services.

  4. In 2020, Uruguay became the first country in Latin America to fully decriminalize sex work. The law provides sex workers with greater legal protection and recognizes sex work as a legitimate form of work.

Some Additional Information

Though in some countries these laws have been criticized for in increase in sex trafficking, there is no conclusive evidence that decriminalizing sex work leads to an increase in sex trafficking. In fact, many studies suggest the opposite. One study published in the journal “World Development” found that countries with more liberal sex work policies, including decriminalization, had lower levels of human trafficking for sexual exploitation. The study compared 150 countries and found that countries with more repressive policies had higher rates of trafficking.

Another study by the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW) found that the criminalization of sex work can increase the vulnerability of sex workers to trafficking and exploitation. The study also found that decriminalization of sex work can help to reduce the exploitation of sex workers by creating a safer working environment and allowing sex workers to access legal and social protections.

Overall, the evidence suggests that decriminalization of sex work can lead to better working conditions, greater safety and health outcomes for sex workers, and a reduction in stigma and discrimination. However, it is important to note that decriminalization alone is not enough to address all the issues faced by sex workers, and additional measures may be necessary to address issues such as exploitation and trafficking.

Over all, decriminalizing sex work is better than legalizing and criminalizing it. With better healthcare and safety for the workers, and a decrease in trafficking, I’m not sure why we’re not doing more to decriminalize sex work in the US. If you would like to talk more about this or any subject I post about in the blog, please send me an email to

See you next time! Sara Lyn Chacón, Unfiltrd Staff

1 view0 comments


bottom of page