In anti-prostitution feminism, the Nordic Model (previously Swedish Model) refers to a legal system in which those who prostitute others (pimps) and those who buy sex (punters) are criminalized, whereas those who are prostituted or who prostitute themselves are decriminalized. Further, the model emphasizes the importance of offering social and economic support to those who would otherwise have no other choice than to prostitute themselves, due to economic and/or mental health related problems such as addiction.
The Nordic Model is unique in that it views prostitution inherently as a crime committed against the prostituted. The idea stems from the feminist analysis of prostitution as a form of economic exploitation and coercion of women into allowing men direct access to their bodies for nothing other than the men's carnal pleasure. This is seen as a uniquely undignifying and often severely traumatizing act, which cannot be seen as a legitimate form of labor. In many instances, the victims of prostitution can also be transsexuals, men, or even children, although the sex buyers are nearly always men.
Further, pimps are often known to hold the prostituted in slave-like conditions, in which the prostituted barely receive a share of the earnings, and are routinely abused not only by the punters but also by the pimp. An even more extreme version of this is the combination of human trafficking with forced prostitution, in which women or other persons are traded like slaves for the sole purpose of being forced into prostitution by the buyer. The relation between the "demand" created by punters willing to buy sex, and the corresponding "supply" which is then offered by pimps and human traffickers, forms an additional motivation for the Nordic Model, which is to end demand for prostituted people. As the buying of sex is criminalized, the demand for prostitution decreases, and as such pimps and human traffickers lose motivation to take the risk of getting caught, since their earnings aren't as lucrative as before.
The Nordic Model is routinely criticized by "pro-sex work" activists, who hold the free choice of a comparatively privileged person to willingly do prostitution above the safety and rights of those who inevitably suffer under forced prostitution when prostitution is tolerated at all by society. They argue that the problems of forced prostitution, physical/sexual abuse in prostitution, and human trafficking, can be clearly separated from the act of prostitution itself. Many go as far as claiming that if prostitution were to be fully decriminalized, it would decrease the more abusive forms of prostitution as "cleaner" forms of prostitution would replace them. Data suggests however that the net effect of full decriminalization is an increase rather than a decrease in human trafficking, as predicted by proponents of the Nordic Model. It is also observed that, despite "pro-sex work" activists' claims that decriminalization decreases "stigma" and as such the likelihood of prostituted women suffering from violence, there seems to be in fact no end to the extreme forms of violence faced by prostituted women in countries such as New Zealand where prostitution is fully decriminalized.