Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2021

Document Type

Honors Project

University Scholars Director

Dr. Eve Christine Chaney

First Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. Charity Osborn

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. Peg Achterman


Prostitution, legal model, legalization, decriminalization, policy, human rights


This discussion of legal models addressing prostitution evaluates the three predominate models currently implemented worldwide: criminalization, legalization/full decriminalization, and partial decriminalization (also termed the Nordic Model). Specific focus is given to each model’s capacity to maintain nations’ human rights obligations to people in prostitution, specifically the right to free choice of employment, and the right to safe working conditions free of exploitation and coercion. Along with evaluating the origins, structure, strengths, and weaknesses of each, case studies of all three models in practice are incorporated to transition from theoretical to practical evaluation. Each model’s unique design, purported outcomes, and various failures to fulfill certain aspects of the state’s human rights mandates is explicitly discussed with particular attention to the unintended consequences which exacerbate impacts of systemic inequality worldwide.


A project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Bachelor of Arts degree in Honors Liberal Arts, Seattle Pacific University 2021.

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