The Nordic Model Versus Decriminalization – A Brief Discussion

When it comes to consensual adult sex work, an industry that receives consistent scrutinization in society, implementing the Nordic model versus decriminalization only serves to further stigmatize and marginalize consensual adult sex workers, and shouldn’t be seen as a progressive option.

As consensual adult sex workers, we know all too well that our work isn’t inherently exploitative, coerced, or harmful as the nordic model indirectly suggests. In fact, consensual adult sex work is empowering, healthy, and fulfilling. 

But before we can truly feel safe doing the work that we love, we need to ensure that our voices are heard. 

Decriminalization of Sex Work Removes Stigma & Enhances Safety

Decriminalization, legalization, and legitimization of consensual adult sex work is the only option that will remove stigma, create safer work environments, and most importantly, provide us with the same rights as other workers. After all, sex work is work, and shouldn’t be treated as anything differently.

But before we get into a deeper discussion of the above mentioned points. For those of you that don’t fully understand the Nordic model, or how it differs from decriminalization and legalization of sex work – we’ve broken down the details of both, below.

The Nordic Model of Sex Work

First introduced in Sweden (hence the name), the Nordic model was implemented to decrease incidences of sexual trafficking by making the purchasing of sex work illegal, versus penalizing those of us who offer sexual services. 

While perhaps this law was made with good intentions, not only has it failed to stop incidences of sexual trafficking, it also comes with the unfounded assumption that those of us who offer sex work are doing so involuntairily. Something we all know isn’t true.

In addition, this model forces consensual adult sex workers to operate under unsafe conditions, and encourages power dynamics where we can be potentially manipulated by clients. It also creates unneeded divisions amongst us, and those who uphold the law.

Conversely, decriminalizing or legalizing consensual adult sex work makes our work much safer, by fostering a healthy environment where we can proactively work together with the government and police. 

This in turn will work towards the same end goal as the Nordic model, ensuring that no one is exploited or coerced, while at the same time, protecting the rights and safety of consensual adult sex workers.

Decriminalization and Legalization of Sex Work

An excellent example of the benefits of decriminalizing sex work can be seen in New Zealand, a country who decriminalized sex work in 2003.

By focusing on the human rights, welfare, and safety of consensual adult sex workers, New Zealand has seen a significant increase in workplace safety amongst sex workers. 

In addition, sex workers in New Zealand are more likely to report bad dates, and have increased collaboration with their police force. In turn, this has allowed them to properly identify and help prevent non-consensual and underage sex from being offered.

While much progress still needs to be done to remove the stigma attached to consensual adult sex work, by choosing decriminalization versus the Nordic model, we can all look to New Zealand as a tangible example of how this pathway serves to benefit consensual adult sex workers as a whole.

Further Discussion of the Nordic Model vs Decriminalization

As you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering why this is still being debated. If decriminalization or legalization of consensual adult sex work is the only solution that actually solves the problems being presented from both sides, why is this even an issue?

The answer most often lies in the concept of morality. 

If sex work continues to be viewed by society as immoral and degrading, so too will the notion that consensual sex workers bodies need to be governed. To be protected from “immoral behavior.”

This is exactly why as consensual sex workers, we need to ensure our voices are heard and respected. The more we speak up about the benefits of our work, and find allies to help elevate and support the news of the empowering, healing work we’re doing, the quicker we can start to remove the stigma.

What You Can do to Help

Regardless of which country in the world you’re in, here are two easy things that you can do today, to help elevate your voice, and the voices of all consensual adult sex workers worldwide.

#1 – Contact your local government representative

One of the best ways to help ensure that your voice is heard is to reach out to your local goverment representative and ask what steps they’re taking towards decriminalizing sex work. 

In most cases, a Google search for “contact my local government representative” should give you all the information you’ll need to easily find someone in your area.

#2 – Consider becoming a writer for Naked Post

Because there’s so much stigmatizing information regarding consensual sex work online, one of the best ways you can make sure your voice is heard is to become a writer for Naked Post. 

Not only will we help elevate your voice, but we’ll also include valuable training that you can utilize in your daily work, and of course, will pay you for each of your contributions.

You can learn more about becoming a writer for Naked Post by visiting our contributors page.

Conclusion – The Nordic Model Versus Decriminalization of Sex Work

Regardless of if the intentions for implementing nordic models of governance of sex work are well, or ill- it’s clear that they’re not working. 

Not only do they further the stigma around sex work, but they also create additional safety issues that affect us all.

As we continue to progress as a society, we need to take a long hard look at the misinformation that continues to be spread about consensual adult sex work. Most importantly, we need to work together to form new norms and laws that protect and respect everyone. Equally.