The European Parliament’s Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee has voted through a report that recommends the adoption of the ‘Nordic Model’ of prostitution laws.
Put forward by Mary Honeyball, Labour MEP for London, the report recommends the EU takes on the Swedish model of prostitution laws, which punishes the clients of prostitutes, rather than the sex workers themselves.
The model was recently voted through in the French parliament. Led by Women’s Rights Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, the bill means anyone found paying for sex will be fined €1,500 (£1,250) for a first offence. If caught a second time, the fine would be increased to €3,000.
Fourteen of the European Parliament committee members voted in favour of the Swedish model, with two against and six abstentions.
The passing of the vote sends a strong signal in regards to Europe’s position on prostitution laws. The report can also now be put forward to the full European Parliament to vote on.
This will take place at one of the Strasbourg plenary sessions in February, most likely during the week starting the 24th.
The Nordic model has proved highly successful in Scandinavia, where countries generally have a high level of gender equality and acknowledge the problems of exploitation within the sex industry. The laws have also been supported by survivors of prostitution and sex trafficking.
Commenting on the vote, Honeyball said: “This is a fantastic outcome. It will form a key part of the sea-change taking place in the way we view prostitution across Europe. We are now a step closer to an approach which recognises the fundamental injustice that takes place when a man buys a women’s body.”
“Europe Votes on Penalising Prostitute Clients in ‘Nordic Model'”