UPR adoption of Denmark

Human Rights Council - 48th Session

Outcome of the Universal Periodic Review – Denmark

Action Canada for Population and Development

Thank you, President

Action Canada makes this statement on behalf of That’s What She Said and the Sexual Rights Initiative.

While sex work per se is not criminalised in Denmark, activities such as soliciting, acting as an intermediary in commercial sex and profiting from another person's engagement in sexual services remain illegal. The criminalization of these acts has a detrimental impact on sex workers’ work and compensation, their physical and psychosocial well-being, and their right to safe and healthy working conditions. Unfortunately these human rights violations failed to be addressed by recommending states.

Sex work is deeply intertwined with the public and policy debate on immigration in Denmark. Many street-based sex workers in Copenhagen and other big cities are migrants and are subjected to intersectional discrimination, including xenophobic and racist violence. The anti-migrant, xenophobic and racist sentiment is also frequently expressed by political leaders and senior ranking government officials. Government funding continues to be drastically cut from many sex workers’ organizations and organizations supporting migrants. Absurd and inaccurate reasoning is often provided for these funding cuts, such as conflating sex work with “human trafficking and illegal migrant work.”  

We reiterate our recommendations to Denmark to:

  1. Decriminalize all aspects of sex work, including the removal of laws, policies and practices that seek to criminalise clients, or that conflate trafficking, sex work and migration.   
  2. Remove laws, policies and practices that prevent sex workers from associating, organising and forming unions.
  3. Ensure that sex workers are accorded labour rights including social protection, workers’ rights and social dialogue.   
  4. Allocate funds to organizations supporting sex workers, particularly sex-worker led organisations.
  5. Confront anti-migrant rhetoric and provide tangible support to migrants, especially migrants working as sex workers.


Thank you.