Regulating sex work in the EU: prostitute women and the new spaces of exclusion

P. Hubbard, J. Scoular, Roger Matthews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

83 Citations (Scopus)


Contemporary prostitution policy within the European Union has coalesced around the view that female prostitution is rarely voluntary, and often a consequence of sex trafficking. Responding, different nation-states have, however, adopted antithetical legal positions based on prohibition (Sweden), abolition (UK) or legalisation (Netherlands). Despite the apparently sharp differences between these positions, in this article we argue that there is now a shared preoccupation with repressing spaces of street prostitution. Noting the forms of exploitation that nonetheless adhere to many spaces of off-street work, we conclude that the state and law may intervene in sex work markets with the intention of tackling gendered injustice, but are perpetuating geographies of exception and abandonment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-152
Number of pages16
JournalGender, Place and Culture
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008


  • sex work
  • prostitution policy
  • EU
  • exclusion
  • trafficking

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