The Criminalisation of Clients


This briefing paper discusses the trend towards criminalisation of sex workers’ clients, a policy that is part of a new legal framework to eradicate sex work and trafficking by ‘ending demand’. In 1999, Sweden criminalised sex workers’ clients and maintained the criminalisation of third parties such as brothel-owners, managers, security and support staff. The individual selling of sex remained legal. This model is frequently referred to as the ‘Swedish’, ‘Nordic’ or ‘End Demand’ model. There is great pressure in many countries to advance such legal and policy measures. The damaging consequences of this model on sex workers’ health, rights and living conditions are rarely discussed. A  summary is also available.

Contents include: 

  • The flawed logic behind 'ending demand'
  • Variations on the Swedish model and the lobby for their implementation
  • Impact of end demand legal frameworks on sex workers
    • Increased repression of sex workers
    • Increased violence and discrimination
    • Decreased access to health and social services
    • Decreased access to housing and shelter

You can download this page 7- page PDF above. This resource is available in English, Chinese, French, Russian, and Spanish.