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  • Writer's pictureThe Unfiltrd Team

The Nordic Model

In todays blog we’re going to be discussing the Nordic Model. The Nordic Model is an approach to addressing prostitution that seeks to reduce the demand for paid sex by criminalizing the purchase of sexual services while decriminalizing the selling of sex. While this approach may be well-intentioned, it has been criticized by sex workers and their advocates for a number of reasons. We’re going to get into why it was been criticized by our industry today.

More Harm than Good

One way in which the Nordic Model can hurt sex workers is by driving the sex trade underground and making it more difficult for sex workers to work safely. When clients are criminalized, they may be less likely to seek out sex workers through established channels or in visible locations, such as brothels or other indoor spaces. This can push the trade into more hidden and dangerous spaces, where sex workers may be more vulnerable to violence, exploitation, and abuse.

Additionally, the Nordic Model can create a situation where sex workers are forced to work alone or with less support, as businesses that offer support to sex workers may be at risk of prosecution for facilitating prostitution. This can mean that sex workers have less access to resources such as condoms, health care, and legal assistance, which can increase their vulnerability to harm.

Furthermore, the Nordic Model can stigmatize sex work and perpetuate harmful stereotypes about sex workers, which can lead to discrimination and marginalization. Sex workers may be less likely to report violence or abuse to the authorities, for fear of being criminalized or stigmatized. This can create a culture of impunity for perpetrators of violence against sex workers. Overall, the nordic model, though created with good intentions, is actually harmful to sex workers.

Key Takeaways

Overall, the Nordic Model was put in place to “help” sex workers by not criminalizing them for the work they choose. But overall we see that it really does more harm than good. In countries where sex work has been decriminalized we see more empowerment in sex workers to seek help when needed, be it healthcare or for legal reasons. The Nordic Model is set in such a way that sex workers are less likely to report a crime committed against them for fear of being stigmatized for their work. And the same goes for seeking health care in these countries. Clients who fear being caught engaging a sex worker and the legal ramifications for doing so are less likely to seek out legitimate and safe ways to engage and will often times resort to unsafe conditions for themselves and the worker they are engaging. And if the encounter goes badly, the SW engaged will be less likely to report it to the police.

I personally don’t like the nordic model, for many of the reasons above. It makes our industry that much harder to work in. Tomorrow we’re going to discuss decriminalizing sex work, the countries that have done this with success and how it is better than legalizing. If you have any input on this topic, please email me at I’d love to talk more about this with you.

See you tomorrow! Sara Lyn Chacón, Unfiltrd Staff

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