Safeguarding the human rights and dignity of undocumented migrant sex workers


This paper by PICUM discusses the impact of criminalisation on the human rights and dignity of undocumented migrant sex workers in Europe. It outlines the main legal frameworks affecting sex workers, and highlights how these intersect with other frameworks criminalising migrants in Europe. The paper discusses criminalisation of the clients of sex workers, immigration enforcement and access to justice, access to healthcare and housing, and the impact of treating all sex work as human trafficking (and vice versa). The paper also makes recommendations for policymakers, which include calling for 'the removal of all criminal and administrative prohibitions and penalties on sex work, related to sex workers, clients and non-exploitative third parties (including laws targeting brothel owners)'. The paper concludes that criminalising the purchase and facilitation of sex work impacts negatively on sex workers, and that the impacts are multiplied when sex workers are undocumented migrants. 

This paper is the result of a process of consultation and discussion with organisations working with undocumented migrants selling sexual services, both within and outside of PICUM’s membership, including sex worker-led organisations, and workshops on the challenges facing undocumented migrant sex workers at PICUM’s Annual General Assemblies in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. 

You can download this 32 page document above, or on the PICUM website. It is available in English.