February 20, 2021
Sex workers in countries where the Equality Model1 has been implemented are frequently harassed and threatened by law enforcement. Execution of the policy often involves police raids on sex workers, which are extremely psychologically (and sometimes physically) harmful. Workers are often pressured to act as witnesses against their clients. Police officers habitually confiscate workers’ possessions and allow the media to film raids, inevitably outing workers to their communities.
A bill that will soon be introduced in New York State aims to implement this model. It may be well-intentioned but has serious implications for the health and safety of sex workers and communities as a whole.
1 The Equality Model, often referred to as the “Entrapment Model,” the “Nordic/Swedish Model,” or “Partial Criminalization” is a legal model in which the sale of commercial sex is nominally decriminalized but the purchasing of sex is not. Any third-party communication and online safety networks used by sex workers are also targeted. With clients assuming most of the risk, sex workers so longer have the leverage to specify where and on what terms to meet clients, and are more likely to take on risk. The aim of this model is to target the “demand side” of the sex work market and to make sex work so dangerous that it ceases to exist.