Sex Work

Street prostitution is regulated by §6 of Chapter 2 and §23 of Law N° 444, which permits the police to  prohibit anyone from loitering and lingering whenever either of these activities should result in the inconvenience or the annoyance of the persons who live in the relevant area or for by-passers. Loitering and lingering are the customary actions of sex workers on the streets, such as aimlessly walking to and fro or just hanging around in a certain place, with no apparent purpose other than the offer of sexual services.

There are three federal laws concerning prostitution in Denmark, which are contained in certain provisos of the penal code, the Alien Act, and the law concerning public order.

Persons in prostitution in Denmark are not obliged to undergo any health tests or controls or other kinds of tests/controls.

The penal code at §223a specifies that buying sexual services from a person under 18 is a criminal offence; however, prostitution per se is not illegal whether one buys or sells.

The penal code at §228 expressly prohibits pimping and identifies as a pimp, a person who induces or leads someone to prostitute herself/himself, who for private gain leads or induces someone to prostitute herself/himself ;  who refrains someone who prostitutes herself/himself from quitting prostitution; or who runs a brothel, a business activity where clients obtain sexual services by payment. The person who runs a brothel may be imprisoned for a maximum of four years for pimping, provided that this person is shown to have an economic interest in prostitution.


On 31 May 2002, the Danish Parliament adopted and added Section 262a to the Danish penal code, which is a new provision concerning the trafficking of human beings that has strengthened protection against this criminal activity. This provision is based on the additional protocol of the United Nations (UN) and the EU framework decision on human trafficking. It provides a maximum penalty of eight years imprisonment and allows the police to break the confidentiality of communication (wire tapping, etc.), to investigate cases involving human trafficking, whenever the conditions for such action have been met as indicated in the Danish Administration of Justice.

In 2007, new provisions were enacted that were included at Sections 14, 15, and 33  in the Alien Act/Immigration Law, which specifically target the victims of trafficking by allowing those persons presumed to have been trafficked to remain in Denmark for up to 100 days. The provisos at §15 and §33 also allow trafficked persons that have been convicted, for example, fake identification papers, etc., and that have been served by a magistrate with an expulsion order to remain in Denmark and to receive the services described in the Government’s Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings 2007-2010. The victims of human trafficking now have the possibility to stay in Denmark for up to 100 days. The Danish plan of action focuses on the implementation of preventive measures and  on providing support to the women who have been exposed to abuse. During the extended deadline for departure, the women are lodged in safe surroundings, with access to relevant social, medical, and psychological support.