Is prostitution legal in Denmark?

December 18, 2018

Denmark is a Nordic country. It is the southernmost of the Scandinavian countries which are comprised of the Jutland Peninsula and numerous islands. The largest island in New Zealand. The islands have flat land and sandy coasts. The average height above the sea level is only 31 meters (101 feet). Apart from the Jutland Peninsula, the country includes over 440 named islands, some of which are not even inhabited. The longest river in Denmark is the Guden. Denmark was once the place of Viking raider and now it’s a major north European naval power. The Kingdom of Denmark is the oldest kingdom in the world which is still in existence.

Weather Conditions of Denmark

The weather in Denmark is comparatively mild than any other Scandinavian country. The Danes enjoy four seasons in a year. Winter months are not always found to be covered with snow, however, because of the northern position; daylight is much lesser than the pitch-black nights. The skies are often found to be grey with heavy clouds and almost no sunlight. During Spring the daylight hours and the temperature increase. However, warm clothes are still required. In summer months, the daylight hours outpaces nighttime by far. Late June holds the longest day of the year with a maximum of 18 hours. Summer temperatures are mild and it isn’t excessively hot. However, rain and cloud can surprise you in summer as well. During autumn the country experiences windy weather. The days are bright and sunlit however a little bit of coolness is found in the air.

Three attributes of Denmark

The aspects which are very vigilant about Denmark are mentioned below. They will highlight the uniqueness of the country and tell you what Denmark is famous for.

Danish Society – The Danish society is well known for its stern welfare system and for being one of the most egalitarian countries in the world. Every person in this country is treated equally in terms of social identity. The welfare state is possible only because they have a progressive taxation system. The more they earn, the more taxes do they pay. That is why all the Danes have an equal opportunity for social security, education, and medical care.

Another unique feature of Danish society is that they practice flexibility and security at work. The Danes enjoy a high degree of mobility between jobs and have financial security in case they lose their job.
Danish Society practices work-life-balance. The Danes prioritize their time with family and friends overwork. They are serious about their work when they are at their workplaces. They enjoy flexible working conditions which are result-oriented as well.

Architecture and Design – Denmark has developed their skills in architecture and design over the years. Today, Danish architecture is very popular and can be found in many places in the world. One of the best-known pieces of Danish architecture is the “Sydney Opera House”. They have unique designs that are trendsetters. Danish work is famous for its simplicity in design and high-quality craftsmanship. “The Spanish chair” is one of the examples of their craftsmanship.

Recently, Denmark has marked itself for its new Nordic cuisines. Some of the aspects where they have improved are; a reflection of seasonings in food, promotion of Nordic products and production of local high-quality goods. The Danish restaurant NOMA has many times been pointed as the world’s best restaurant.

Green Country – Denmark is praised as one of the greenest countries in the world. Since the 1980’s Denmark has been developing new sustainable technologies and solutions. During that period, the Danish economy had grown by 80%.

Green technology is Denmark’s biggest exports of today. More than 40% of Danish energy comes from renewable sources like wind energy. Denmark has established various programs of research for sustainable technologies. The Danes have the world’s second-highest consumption rate of organic products. Most of the stores and supermarkets have started selling organically certified alternatives for the items available.

Danish bicycle culture is a prominent feature known to the world. Denmark is one of the bike-friendly countries. The number of cycles is double than of cars. In Copenhagen, nearly 62% of the residents ride their bikes to school and work every day.

Prostitution in Denmark

Our main topic today is about prostitution practice in Denmark. In this section, we would give you an insight into the prostitution culture of Denmark. The most recent figures on prostitution in Denmark were around 5,500 people, mostly women work in the industry. Prostitution is sparsely regulated and the sex workers don’t enjoy the same rights as other employment which includes unemployment insurance or pensions.

Legalized Prostitution in Denmark

Prostitution has been made legal in Denmark since 1999. Since this year Danes have been legally allowed to buy and sell sex in the country, although the actual industry is considered illegal. The government has made a rule that the prostitutes are required to register themselves as business owners with tax authorities. Their income is also taxable. Prostitutes who would be working in a legal grey area, they would have to pay taxes.

Prostitution is not covered by the Danish labor laws. Therefore, they are not a part of the retirement schemes or right to good working conditions. The law of 1999 says that individuals are allowed to work legally as prostitutes, however, pimping and brothels are illegal. This law has been able to prevent women from getting involved in the prostitution business forcefully. In Denmark, it is illegal to create or promote contact between a prostitute and a customer. You cannot even rent out a hotel room if you are aware that it is meant for prostitution.

Lesser-known Facts about Danish Prostitution


Origin of the prostitutes: As per the information of Mitchelle Mildwater – founder of an NGO (HopeNow) that empowers trafficked persons in Denmark, says the major population of the prostitutes are African or from eastern European countries. 98% of women found on the streets at night are Nigerians. During the day, you will find women from Eastern Europe – Bulgarians, Hungarians, and some Russians. The African group that works at night is available from 11:30 pm to 5:00 am. The African women are from the Edo State in Nigeria.

Prostitution is illegal in Greenland – Although the country is following the law of Denmark and its legislations, however, the 1999 prostitution law has not been applied in Greenland. In a report published in the year 2008, it has been proved that Greenland is free from all signs of visible or organized prostitution. There are even no instances of prostitution-related to court cases.

Nordic Brothel – Even though prostitution has been legalized since 1999, still it is a criminal offense to purchase sex from a minor who is less than 18 years of age, to own a brothel and to persuade sex. In Denmark prostitution is categorized as violence against women. The rules of Denmark are found to be much more relaxed than the other Nordic countries in terms of prostitution. The person buying sex forcefully would be regarded as criminal. Norway has passed the law that prohibits the purchase of sex in 2008. Therefore, Denmark is known as the “Nordic Brothel.”

Typical story of the prostitutes – Most of the evidence suggests that the women who engage themselves in prostitution have shared similar stories of their life. The reasons behind them joining the business are generally poor upbringing, lack of job opportunities in their home town and vulnerability. Many of the women have admitted that they were sold at a tender age even without their knowledge. Some fall prey to the kind words of their near and dear ones and hence land up into prostitution.

Prostitutes are not always unhappy – There is a group called Sexual Political Forum (SPF) formed by researchers, sexologists and artists. They have shared an opinion that all women should have authority over their sexuality outside the remit state intervention. It is an incorrect sexist attitude that violates individual dignity and initiative that they choose to move across borders to create a better life for them. It is a myth that all sex workers are unhappy. Unhappiness is not because of their profession all. It happens due to stigma, lacking rights, poor working conditions, and isolation.

Customers are Important – African sex workers are found to be more independent, strong and self-aware. Prostitutes give their customer importance because the sex-customer gives them money, which they use to raise their children. So, in a way, they are helping hands of the prostitutes. Empowerment is a driving factor for individuals in the prostitution industry. Individuals who choose to remain in the industry should be supported for their choices rather than being stigmatized.

People have different opinions about the prostitution world. The sight of a woman standing at the red light puts different words on the people’s mouth and the whole perception changes. Prostitutes are sometimes labeled as victims, sometimes known as empowered women and at times referred to as strangers. Whatever may be the case, it would be beneficial for them if the Government thinks about raising their social stature and they also enjoy the employment benefits.