The number of countries where legal prostitution is treated as a controlled industry is astounding. In fact, there are 77 countries that have completely legalized it and 11 that have limited prostitution but still allow it. Some places, like the United States, have made it illegal with a few exceptions. In the US, prostitution is legal in some rural counties in Nevada, but sex workers are required to register with the state and undergo regular health checks.
Many countries have cut down on prostitution in a roundabout way by confining it to red light districts or by making it extremely difficult for sex workers to actually get clients. For example, prostitution is technically legal in the United Kingdom, but they’ve outlawed brothels, solicitation, and advertising of any kind, making it difficult to actually work as a prostitute within the confines of the law. This list explores the ins and outs of legal prostitution around the globe.
Denmark is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 15 Countries Where Prostitution Is Legal
In Denmark, prostitution was decriminalized in 1999, partly because it seemed like keeping watch over the industry would be easier if it were happening out in the open – it’s always easier to police a legal trade than an illegal one. Third-party activities such as coercion, procuring, trafficking, and the solicitation of minors remain illegal. But that’s not to say this legalization hasn’t brought in some strange legal issues.
Apparently, in Denmark, local authorities compensate those with disabilities for extra costs that are related to their disabilities… which opens the door to whether or not needing a prostitute is related to having a disability. The case of Torben Hansen has raised questions about exactly what kinds of extra costs the government is willing to pay for. Hanson has cerebral palsy, which affects his mobility and speech immensely, so it’s not really possible for him to go out and meet a woman and have a normal sex life. He believes his local government should be paying the extra charges he incurs for needing to hire sex workers. His request to have the costs covered was denied, but Danish government workers are allowed to arrange meetings between sex workers and disabled people, should the disabled person request it.
Finland is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 15 Countries Where Prostitution Is Legal
Prostitution is legal in Finland, but selling and purchasing sex in public is illegal, as is purchasing or pimping a trafficking victim. Prostitution pretty much exploded during the recession in the 1990s, although it was mainly limited to private apartments, erotic restaurants, and nightclubs in larger cities. Street work is banned, but like many industries nowadays, the Finnish “red light districts” are all accessible through the Internet and personal ads. In addition to decreasing street-workers, cyberspace has also contributed to a growing number of foreign sex workers operating in Finland through ads and massage parlors.
Costa Rica is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 15 Countries Where Prostitution Is Legal
Prostitution is completely legal in Costa Rica. In fact, it’s a common profession, especially in popular tourist destinations. The problems are with the activities surrounding prostitution. Pimping is illegal, prostitution rings are illegal, and there is also a huge problem with child prostitution and human trafficking. Costa Rica is, unfortunately, a common transit and destination point for women and children who are being trafficked for sexual exploitation purposes.
Argentina is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 15 Countries Where Prostitution Is Legal
Prostitution is legal in Argentina as long as the participants are over the age of 18. It’s the promotion, facilitation, and exploitation of others that are troublesome – specifically, the trafficking of women and children for prostitution to and within the country has become a problem. Human sex trafficking, owning a brothel, pimping, or coercing an individual into prostitution in any way is illegal.
Canada is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list 15 Countries Where Prostitution Is Legal
Canada has no law against the exchange of sex for money; it’s pimping or owning a brothel that is prohibited. It’s also illegal to market or communicate publicly regarding prostitution. Much like Belize, Canada has established contradicting laws. It is legal to be a sex worker, but as of 2014, it’s illegal to purchase sexual services.
Belgium is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list 15 Countries Where Prostitution Is Legal
While anti-prostitution laws and how they are enforced vary by country, they also vary within certain areas of any given country regardless of what nation-wide laws state. While Belgium allows prostitution and prohibits brothels, many brothels are still openly operated without any consequences. They are seen as a nuisance, but authorities put no effort into policing red light districts.
Places like Villa Tinto, the self-proclaimed most high-tech brothel in Europe, has an elaborate operation that involves prostitutes clocking in via biometric fingerprint scanner and posing in a boutique-like display window to lure in potential clients.
Belize is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list 15 Countries Where Prostitution Is Legal
Belize is a bit tricky. They didn’t want to come out and prohibit prostitution, nor do they do much to combat it, so technically it’s legal there. However, it’s only legal to be a prostitute, not buy one for the night. Officials decided to attack the industry at the “demand” level, instead of going after the suppliers. Many other countries have decided to institute similar laws, treating prostitutes as victims instead of criminals.
France is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list 15 Countries Where Prostitution Is Legal
While prostitution is legal in France as long as there are no pimps, brothels, or advertising involved, the French Government passed a bill in 2003 which made even “passive soliciting” illegal. This new law categorized using one’s clothing or posture as a method of “advertising prostitution.” If any of the 18,000 prostitutes in the country were found guilty of “disturbing the peace,” they faced six months in prison or a fine of up to $7,500.
This caused 500 prostitutes to protest outside of parliament, saying the bill threatened their livelihood. Some donned masks and many held signs with phrases such as, “You sleep with us, you vote against us,” written on them. It was the profession’s largest protest since 1975.
As of 2016, a new law will treat the sex worker as a victim rather than a criminal. They’ve decided to crack down on the clients like many other countries have. Anyone caught trying to purchase sex will be fined and sent to classes on the harms of prostitution. They’ve also decided to push programs to help sex workers find safer employment, including foreign sex workers residing illegally in France. They will be granted a temporary residence permit and encouraged to join the program to find safer work.
Germany is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list 15 Countries Where Prostitution Is Legal
There are an estimated 400,000 prostitutes working in Germany, and their revenues are equivalent to companies like Porsche and Adidas. Prostitution brings in about six billion Euros each year with a clientele of an estimated 1.2 million – it’s more like a sex empire than an industry. The government, of course, withholds a portion of these revenues to contribute to social benefits and sex workers have pensions, health insurance, a regular 40-hour-workweek, and the option to join sex worker unions. Things aren’t perfect, of course; those who are forced to share earnings with brothels are reluctant to hand over more money for taxes and, despite the nationwide laws, each city has the right to ban prostitution in their area.
Greece is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list 15 Countries Where Prostitution Is Legal
It was the ancient Greeks that introduced the world to high-class prostitutes back in the sixth century BCE. Nowadays in Greece, as long as you’re over the age of 21, registered at the local prefecture, and a medical card carrier whose card is updated every two weeks, you can do pretty much anything that doesn’t involve sex trafficking. Brothels are legal and pimping is legal, but only ten out of the 525 brothels in Greece actually have a license.
But one issue Greek sex workers face is the crippling national recession. The price of sex has decreased, as has the age of those performing sex-work off the books. Some teenage girls are prostituting themselves for as little as the price of a sandwich, proving severe changes in policing the industry is needed.
Italy is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list 15 Countries Where Prostitution Is Legal
Prostitution is legal in Italy, but like in many other places, there are caveats. The city of Padua’s government decided the best way to help those who are forced into prostitution is to punish the clients. They instituted fines for those caught soliciting any sex worker, issuing an on-the-spot fine of £30 to clients. But prostitutes have devised a clever little way of staying in business. They issue their clients little pink coupons promising to refund them for any fines “in kind.”
Switzerland is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list 15 Countries Where Prostitution Is Legal
Like many countries with legalized prostitution, sex workers in Switzerland are required to register with the government and get regular health checks. Street prostitution is considered a public nuisance and was made illegal, but brothels are legal, and there are designated red light districts in major cities.
The large numbers of sex workers throughout Switzerland can be traced back to a 2004 treaty with the European Union to allow EU workers to live and work in the country. Instead of a flood of business executives and academics, Switzerland got an influx of prostitutes.
Netherlands is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list 15 Countries Where Prostitution Is Legal
Prostitution has officially been legal in the Netherlands for those over the age of 18 since October 2000. But, strangely enough, the clients only have to be over 16 years old. Brothel ownership is legal but they do face zoning requirements and, like prostitutes, they must be legally registered and pay taxes.
Mexico is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list 15 Countries Where Prostitution Is Legal
Prostitution was decriminalized in Mexico and is regulated at the state level to ensure all sex workers are registered, over the age of 18, and receive frequent health checks. Prostitutes have to carry their health cards while working and must stay in their city’s “zona roja” or red light district. Thirteen out of the thirty-one states of Mexico actively regulate prostitution and have established locations away from school and residential areas where sex workers are allowed to do business. It is illegal to “own” or pimp prostitutes, however, it still happens. Anyone looking for a way out of the business can seek shelter through a government funded program that assists former prostitutes.
Spain is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list 15 Countries Where Prostitution Is Legal
Spain spent about three years locked in a debate about how to abolish or monitor prostitution before they simply gave up and did nothing. While pimping, sex trafficking, and brothel ownership remain illegal, there are no specific laws governing the act of prostitution itself. It’s neither legal nor illegal; it’s a shade of gray that exists in the country, which is why it’s been dubbed “the brothel of Europe.” There are up to 500,000 women working as prostitutes in Spain with an estimated daily demand of 1.5 million clients. The industry is turning over an estimated 40 billion Euros ($54 billio) annually.
source : ranker.com