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Austria

Prostitution is legal. Persons who let their bodies be exposed to sexual actions in their professions or make such actions to others shall be registered and undergo a weekly medical examination to avoid sexually transmitted diseases. Procurement is illegal.

Belgium

Procurement is illegal. As of 1995 it is legal to rent premises for the purpose of prostitution, if the prostitutes do not make "abnormal profits". Prostitution is legal if one does not disturb the public order, by openly providing sexual services. Several proposals to change the current law has been put to the senate recently, including laws similar to the Dutch and the Swedish. There is no information at the moment as to which path Belgium will take, but the present law will probably change soon.

As of 1 July 1999, it is not a criminal offence to buy or sell sex, except where this involves children under 18 years of age. Prostitution used to be allowed only as a supplementary income, but as of 1998 a new law allows people to have their whole income based on prostitution. Prostitutes can register themselves as independent workers. Procurement is illegal. Sexual services are advertised very openly.

Prostitution is not criminal but local municipalities can prohibit street prostitution in their local laws. Since December 1999 prostitution is prohibited in public areas. However, it is not a criminal offence to buy sex, except where this involves children under 18 years of age. A proposal similar to the Swedish law, penalising the client, has been debated.

  New law in force from April 2016

France flagThe purchase of sex is now a crime in France.

While the maximum fine is €1,500 or euro €3,500 for repeat offenders, most of the first 250 victims of the new law who who admitted to paying for sex were fined between €300 and €400.

Prostitution is legal and highly regulated, but only in state-licensed brothels. Brothels are not allowed on a distance less than 200 metres from public buildings. A proposal for a new law which would cut that distance in half, to facilitate prostitution during the Olympic Games in Athens 2004 was recently debated, but the Greek government decided in December 2003 not to submit the proposal.

  New Law passed in 2016 coming into force in 2017.

Germany flagGermany has approved a new law that makes it illegal to have sex with prostitutes without using a condom. According to a report in the Independent, brothel owners will now be expected to make their customers aware of the new law and inform them that unprotected sex will be banned.

The law has been approved by Bundesrat, Germany's upper house of Parliament. It will now be sent to President Joachim Gauck for his approval. The law will come into force on July 1, 2017,

The new law will also make licensing mandatory for all brothels so that they would comply with all rules and meet legal standards.  Sex wrkers will also be expected to register with the local police who will issue certificates that would require a renewal every two years. The sex workers will also be required to attend a health advice session once in a year.

Those violating the law, including sex workers, pimps, buyers or brothel owners, could face fines from € 1,000 to € 50,000. Brothel owners could also be stripped off their license.

  2002

Prostitution is legal but all the Bundesländer (except for Berlin) have regulated certain areas where prostitution may not be practised, such as, areas close to schools and child care centers.

The law which came into force 2002 allows prostitutes to have a social insurance, be on paid sick leave and receive a pension, if they are hired on a brothel or own a company. Few own companies however and so far no one has been employed (September 2003), because of the decrease in income. Foreign women are not covered by the law. Employment agencies can advertise and recruit for such positions.

All kind of prostitution are illegal- procurement, selling sexual services, keeping brothels, and buying sex from underage persons.

Under the current law from 1958, brothels and procurement are illegal, but not prostitution. Prostitution is considered to be an offence of disturbing the public order, and there is a recent proposal aimed at allowing brothels but not street prostitution.

Procurement is prohibited, as is the keeping of brothels. Buying sex from children under 18 is illegal, but prostitution in itself is not a criminal offence.

On the 1st of October 2000, a ban on Dutch brothels from 1911 was lifted. In January 2001 prostitution was considered a profession like any other. Prostitutes have the right to claim hygienic working conditions, security at the workplace, and so on. They shall have a working condition and pay income tax. "Forced" prostitution and procurement are illegal. After a case where an employment agency offered a position as a prostitute to a woman seeking employment, the Dutch Social ministry have stated that the brothels may advertise through employment agencies but the agencies must not actively offer such positions to women who come and seek work.

It is an offence for people to buy sex in Norway.

It is an offence for Norwegians to buy sex when abroad.

It is not a criminal offence to sell sex, but procurement and procuring and facilitating prostitution are illegal. The law does not mention male prostitution, only female. The exploitation of men is not a criminal offence.

Serbia   News March 2016: Customers criminalised

Amendments to the public nuisance laws in Serbia, known as Public Law and Order laws, increased penalties for sex work related offences. Anti-sex work campaigners pushed the government to introduce amendments that would also punish the clients of sex workers. The new laws punishes everyone who disturbs public order and peace including noisy neighbours, panhandling, burning pyrotechnic products, organising gambling, etc.

If arrested, both clients and sex workers are punished with up to 60 days in prison or fines up to 150 000 RSD (approximately 1300 EUR).

Previously selling sex was illegal in Serbia but buying sex was not.

Procurement and prostitution are not criminal offences, but it is a criminal offence to force someone to work as a prostitute, to exploit someone's weak position by making them work as a prostitute, and to stop someone from working as a prostitute. The keeping of brothels is illegal in some regions, for example, Catalonia and the Basque Country.

  Illegal to buy sex

Sweden flagSince January 1999 it has been illegal to buy or try to buy sexual services. Prostitution is considered to be a part of the sexualised violence (gender-related violence) and an expression of unequal relations between women and men. The act prohibiting the purchase of sexual services is a part of the Women’s Inviolable Rights Act (Kvinnofridslagstiftningen), including the law on violence against women, sexual harassment, gender mutilation, and so on.

   News, September 2016: Enforcement methods

A policeman in charge of enforcing the prohibition, Simon Haggstrom, explained a little how the police seek out victims to prosecute. The print and online ads are how police find sex buyers. police track the ads daily, placing a priority on those with the youngest-looking women. Acting as buyers, they set up a date and find out the location. Once there, they cancel the arrangement and then stake out the site, arresting the men as they leave.

Haggstrom explained that a consequence is that Swedish men now are more likely to become sex tourists. Sweden does not have an extraterritorial law that allows it to prosecute Swedish offenders for sex crimes committed abroad. However, he says it's under discussion.

Switzerland

In Switzerland, prostitution has been legal since 1942. When carried out voluntarily, it is considered a form of independent economic activity and the proceeds are subject to tax. But those who do this need to have their papers in order, hold work or residence permits, and declare their occupation to the cantonal authorities.

  News Northern Ireland, June 2015

A new law has come into force criminalising the purchase of sex in Northern Ireland.

Anyone convicted under the new legislation can be sentenced to a maximum of one year's imprisonment, or a fine, or both.

It is not an offence to sell sexual services. The new law also removes criminality from loitering or soliciting for the purposes of offering services as a prostitute in a street or public place. It remains an offence to keep or manage a brothel.

  England, Wales, Scotland

Prostitution is not illegal if the prostitute works independently without disturbing the public order. However, there is a law that criminalises the purchase of sex from sex workers that are pimped or trafficked. It is a 'strict liability' offence which means that it is not relevant that customers know or don't know whether the sex worker is controlled. ie customers could be prosecuted even there is no suggestion or clue that a sex  worker has been 'forced or coerced' Section 53A of the amended Sexual Offences Act: Paying for sexual services of a prostitute subjected to force etc. came into force on April 1st 2010.

Men who are found several times in prostitution areas buying sex can be fined for kerb crawling.

It is criminal to advertise prostitution, to run a brothel, and to recruit persons for prostitution.