Sex workers without brothel license soon risk a prison sentence of up to six months. On October 12, the Act Regulating Prostitution (WRP) will be taken up by the Lower House. The WRP criminalizes all sex workers without authorization/licensure, including independent prostitutes and camgirls / camboys. This is the first time that the Netherlands criminalizing sex workers. This, according to the WODC to affects about a third of all prostitutes.
Sex Worker association PROUD is strongly opposed to the introduction of the law. Many prostitutes are willing to work legally, but are prevented from doing so by municipalities. Because municipalities refuse to issue permits to prostitutes, more and more sex workers choose to work without a permit, often from their own homes. The WRP considers these individuals prostitutes and brothel owners (operators) without a permit and allows them punishable as such.
“I tried for three years to get a permit.” Says Anne (35, pseudonym). “I was always refused for no apparent reason. Once I paid 3000 euro to a municipality. At the last moment I did not have a license, but my money I lost. I will not work for an escort or in a brothel. I am an independent entrepreneur. So now I work without a permit. I’m afraid I will soon be arrested. I do not know why. I just do pay taxes? It seems like just prostitution is illegal. “
Also camgirls / camboys are considered by the WRP as a “sex business”. The implementation of the law would instantly criminalize all Dutch camgirls / camboys.
United Nations advises against criminalization
Sex work has never been illegal in Holland. The desire to criminalize prostitutes is striking, especially now that organizations like the United Nations, the Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women, the World Health Organisation, the Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International all argue against criminalization of sex workers. Human rights organizations advise countries even to completely decriminalize sex work (lifting all prostitution laws and regulations) because it leads to safer and healthier working and living for sex workers.
Sex workers fiercely oppose the WRP
PROUD considers the whole WRP as a dangerous and harmful law. The law forces sex workers, for example, to work for an operator without employee rights and legalizes police raids on the houses of prostitutes. “The biggest pain point is the criminalization of sex workers without a permit. We really want to send prostitutes to prison? “Said Mariska Majoor PROUD president.
PROUD calls MPs by letter to speak out against the WRP and ask them to talk about the law. Also calls on the association of sex workers and supporters to take action. On www.wijzijnproud.nl find more information about how you can help sex workers to legally and safely be able to continue working.
For more information, contact Yvette Luhrs via firstname.lastname@example.org.