Nordic Prostitution Policy Reform

Since 1999, Sweden has criminalized the purchase, albeit not the sale of sexual services.  At the same time, Denmark liberalized its own policy, effectively decriminalizing prostitution. In recent years, Finland rejected adoption of the Swedish legislation, while Norway banned the purchase of sexual services at home and for Norwegians abroad. 

Against this backdrop, the NPPR Project drew upon ideational approaches in both international and comparative politics to analyze cross-national variation in prostitution policy outcomes in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. While the divergent Nordic attempts to legislate sex work frequently emerged in public debates over prostitution in Europe and beyond, no systematic study addressed how these policies came to be enacted. 

As such, this project not only had scholarly significance, but was a valuable resource for those seeking to make sense of the Nordic experience when proposing reforms to prostitution policy in any setting. NPPR was financed by the Swedish Research Council until the end of 2011 with a total award of 2,250,000 Swedish kronor (195,000 GBP). Dr Gregg Bucken-Knapp, former senior lecturer in the School of History and Politics, was the principal investigator.


More information and impact

  • The project blog has been live since early 2008. This blog is the sole English-language internet source tracking the developments of prostitution policy across the Nordic countries, and contains a wealth of information and links to publications.