The Nordic Model is touted as a way to abolish the sex industry without harming or criminalizing sex workers. Under the Nordic Model, at least in theory, providing sexual services in exchange for money is not criminalized, but paying for sexual services or living off the earnings of another’s sex work are criminal acts.
In practice these laws endanger and even criminalise sex workers. Most industry groups, including the Scarlet Alliance in Australia, support full decriminalization of sex work, as do the World Health Organization and the United Nations, because it has been shown to have the best worker health and safety outcomes.
Laws that criminalize living off the earnings of sex work are meant to prevent pimping but in reality they criminalize support networks and have even been used against sex workers.
These laws force sex workers to work alone, making it illegal to provide security or drive a sex worker in exchange for payment. Rather than being a pimp, a driver or security is often someone a sex worker has engaged to provide an extra level of safety while on the job. The same goes for engaging someone to handle the administration side of the work.
These people can be friends or co-workers or they can be people who do this as their career. Blanket criminalization of living off sex worker earnings makes it harder and more dangerous for sex workers to do their job.