Comparing Croatian and Slovenian Prostitution Regimes

Prostitution is a taboo topic in the former Yugoslav countries and engaging in sex work is criminalised in several countries, even if decriminalized (the case of Slovenia). The development of policy is ideological rather than empirically driven and is, in many cases, not informed by the human rights standards. Indeed, in both countries human rights abuses of sex workers are frequent but are not challenged and there is no sex workers organisation. There is little research on prostitution, particularly research that is based on narratives of sex workers. Further, there are no studies comparing Croatian and Slovenian prostitution policies and their impact on sex workers. This comparative research assesses commonalities and differences of prostitution policies in the two countries. It looks at if and how the differences are reflected in legal and public discourses and the narratives of sex workers. The research is focused on eliciting experiences of sex workers, as the most important source of information in designing and implementing feasible and effective policies. By undertaking research in the two post-socialist EU members which prostitution regimes fall outside the dominant frameworks, this study brings new perspectives to the scholarship on prostitution, which can make prostitution policies more inclusive. It questions the main concepts of victimhood vs. agency, work vs. violence in the context of specific cultural, economic and political circumstances of the two countries.



  • Institut Ivo Pilar, Zagreb (project coordinator)
  • University of Zagreb


Independent Social Research Foundation, London