On the basis of sex: the effect of EU’s silence on sex workers’ rights; can the silence be broken?

Thumbnail Image
Giasimakopoulou, Artemis
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
This research presents a critical assessment of the impact of EU policies on the human rights of sex workers, while aiming to draw attention to sex work as work. Sex work has been interpreted to fall outside of the EU’s competences, despite its recognition as an economic activity, according to the Court of Justice of the European Union. However, attempts of framing the issue as an inherent violation of human dignity and gender equality perpetuate the stigma and discrimination, whilst silencing sex workers and portraying them as victims in need of salvation. The victimization of sex workers and the denial of their agency under the neo-abolitionist regime has been working against the protection of individuals in the sex industry, and especially migrant sex workers. While addressing the complexities that the issue of sex work entails, such as the impact of moral perceptions, societal gender roles and presumptions on migration, that lead to its conflation with human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, it is argued that the voices of sex workers need to be heard in the policy-making process. Taking into account the silence of the EU on the matter, this research argues that the recognition of the issue as a matter of work, would be more effective in upholding the rights of sex workers and recognizing their agency.
Second semester University: Utrectch University
prostitution, European Union, discrimination, human rights, migrant workers