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Press release from the first Nordic conference for sex workers 27-28 October 2004 in Oslo, Norway

For the first time female, male and transgender sex workers from the Nordic countries gathered for a conference. The urgent situation in Sweden has made it apparent that a network for sex workers is crucial for further political work in the Nordic region. In the current political situation the attending representatives from the Nordic sex worker organisations wanted to stress unity concerning the central issues that future prostitutiton policies must take into account:

1. Legislation on sex work should not criminalize neither buyers nor sellers of sexual services.
2. When making new laws and enforcing already existing laws, the main concern must be not to further stigmatize or endanger the sex workers.
3. All the Nordic countries are currently facing an increase of migrant men and women working in the sex industry. Some of these men and women do not have legal documents. We demand practical and functional solutions for these persons that do not further criminalize them and that respect their fundamental human rights and take into consideration the situation in their countries of origin.
4. Social workers, health care workers and civil servants who are to aid sex workers must base their support on sex workers’ understanding of their own needs. Therefore we suggest an objective mapping of the sex market as a whole in each of the Nordic countries. This should be done in co-operation with sex workers.

At the conference a network was formed to ensure that the political work is continued. It was also decided that an annual award is to be given to “a person brave enough to give sex workers a voice”. The first prize was awarded the Norwegian member of parliament Inga Marte Thorkildsen “for her passionate support and her willingness to stand in pride next to sex workers and refer to them as friends and equals”.

Contact info:
Gitte, Oslo, Norway: Pye, Stockholm, Sweden: Johannes, Malmo, Sweden: Johanna, Helsinki, Finland:

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