Global Mapping of Sex Work Laws
Click on a category to filter the map
NSWP has also published seven country case studies on how laws are implemented on the streets and their impact on sex workers, which you can access below. A Briefing Paper summarising the seven case studies is also available.
New Zealand (Aotearoa)
NSWP published a further ten country case studies in 2022, as part of the Love Alliance programme in Africa, which you can access below.
An accompanying Regional Briefing Paper summarising all ten case studies, reflects on the sex work laws in the region, explores key themes, and provides an analysis and recommendations on the way forward to strengthen advocacy for decriminalisation in these countries and the region as a whole.
About the map
The map provides information on laws which criminalise the sale of sexual services, the purchase of sexual services and the facilitation, management or organisation of sex work.
Countries which criminalise sex work are highlighted on the map in three shades of red representing selling, buying and third parties. Countries which regulate sex work through ‘legalisation’ are highlighted in yellow. Countries (or states) which have decriminalised sex work are highlighted in green.
You can use the key above to filter the map according to these different types of legal frameworks. Some countries are marked with a symbol to indicate that additional information is provided on the country page regarding its sex work laws. A full list of countries is available here.
*Where we indicate an activity is criminalised, this includes activities associated with selling sexual services that are intrinsic to the work or protect safety (e.g. soliciting on the streets or in a public place, advertising, sharing premises with other indoor sex workers), or other activities associated with buying (e.g. "kerb crawling"). The term ‘third parties’ includes managers, brothel keepers, receptionists, maids, drivers, landlords, hotels who rent rooms to sex workers and anyone else who is seen as facilitating sex work and can also include sex workers themselves.
The information in the map reflects legislation (as of December 2021) that exists in relation to sex work, rather than how laws are enforced or the impact they have on sex workers. The map does not include all countries where sex work legislation has been conflated with trafficking legislation, given the complexity of the legislation, but the map highlights some examples on specific country pages.
NSWP will continue to work on more national case studies that will provide insight into how law enforcement implement the legislation and its impact upon sex workers, these will be added to the country pages as they are completed, as funding allows.
While it can be difficult to obtain up to date and reliable information on the sex work laws that exist across the world, every attempt has been made to ensure that the information on this map is as accurate as possible. If you are aware of any inaccuracies in the information provided about specific countries please contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The information was last updated in December 2021.
Read more about the different legal frameworks applied to sex work
- Sex Work and the Law: Understanding Legal Frameworks and the Struggle for Sex Work Law Reforms & Infographic & Animation
- Laws and Policies Affecting Sex Work
- The Principles for Model Sex Work Legislation
- Sex Worker’s Lack of Access to Justice & Infographic
- The Impact of Criminalisation on Sex Workers’ Vulnerability to HIV and Violence & Infographic
Criminalisation of the sale of sexual services
Criminalisation of the purchase of sexual services, sometimes called the ‘Nordic Model’ or the ‘end demand’ model
- Policy Brief: The Impact of ‘End Demand’ Legislation on Women Sex Workers & Infographic: The Human Rights Violations Behind ‘End Demand’ Laws
- The Real Impact of the Swedish Model on Sex Workers
- Challenging the introduction of the Nordic Model
- The Criminalisation of Clients
Criminalisation of the facilitation, management or organisation of sex, often referred to as ‘third parties’
Legalisation of sex work
- The German Prostitution Law: An Example of the 'Legalisation of Sex Work'
- Policy Change in Prostitution in the Netherlands: from Legalisation to Strict Control
Decriminalisation of sex work
- Smart Sex Worker’s Guide to Decriminalisation
- Sex Work and the Law: The Case for Decriminalisation
- 10 Reasons to Decriminalise Sex Work
- The Basics: Decriminalisation of Sex Work 101
Mandatory testing/registration for sex workers
- HIV and STI Testing and Treatment Policies
- Sex Workers’ Access to Comprehensive Sexual and Reproductive Health Services
- The Impact of Non-rights Based HIV Programming For Sex Workers Around the World
Sex work as work