• Sheet of paper Report

The Human Cost of Crushing the Market: Criminalization of Sex Work in Norway



In Norway, purchasing sex is illegal but the direct act of selling sex is not. Other activities associated with sex work are criminalized including “promotion of prostitution” and letting premises used for selling sex.

Despite high levels of rape and violence by clients and organized gangs, sex workers have a high threshold for reporting violence to the police.

“I went to the house of a man. He punched me two times in the jaw. I didn’t tell the police. I don’t want it on my records,” one sex worker told Amnesty International.

Amnesty International heard how some sex workers who have reported violence to the police in Norway have been evicted from their homes or deported as a result of engaging with the police.

Under Norway’s laws, sex workers are at risk of forced evictions as their landlords can be prosecuted for renting property to them if they sell sex there.

A representative of a Norwegian sex workers’ rights organization explained: “If landlords don’t evict, the police will launch a criminal case against them…The police are encouraging landlords to take the law into their own hands and enforce it themselves.”

People who do sex work are also unable to work together for safety, or hire third party support like security, as this would likely qualify as “promotion of prostitution” under the law.