I am afraid
I dare not say what I do
I am afraid the police will come to my door
I am afraid that my landlord will evict me from my home
I’m afraid someone will find out what I do
If I am raped, I am afraid to go to the doctor
If I am robbed, I am afraid to call 112
If something happens, I’m all alone
During the pandemic, sex workers and strippers were not allowed to work. Clubs and brothels closed and many never reopened after that. And even though sex workers paid taxes, they got no corona emergency support from the government. They were not entitled to anything. Sex workers could no longer pay the rent, they got into debt, they no longer had money to buy food for their children. They saw no other solution than to keep working, in secret.
The police started checking sex workers who advertised on the internet. Regularly, sex workers thought they were opening up to a customer, only to suddenly find policemen in their bedroom. Sex workers who were raped or robbed no longer dared to go to the police. Criminals knew this too. Malicious men considered sex workers as easy prey. Banning sex work does not make it disappear, it only makes it dangerous.
Even now, sex workers work without a boss. At home or as escorts from home. Because they cannot go to brothels, because they are trans, male or too old. Because they want to be in charge of their own work and body!
They call this illegal then. Because a sex worker is obliged to work in a brothel for a boss. Sex workers who are unwilling or unable to do so risk fines or may be evicted from their homes. So the next time you read in the newspaper that an illegal prostitution business has closed down, remember that this could also be that sex worker who has now become homeless.
I am afraid.
Because there is a bill that requires sex workers to register in a national whore register. Sex workers must also be able to prove that they are “self-reliant”.
What is that anyway, “self-reliance”?
There are sex workers with children. There are sex workers who are new to the Netherlands. There are sex workers with disabilities. Any official can just think of them as bad mothers, that they don’t speak Dutch well enough, that they are incompetent. That they are therefore “not self-reliant”. That they are incapable of making their own choices.
The “unself-reliant” are banned from doing sex work.
The “self-reliant” still have no workplaces and no rights.
Sex work is often seen as a problem. But sex work is work. It gives an income, independence, freedom!
Sex work is not the problem, but the solution!
For sex workers with studying children, or for sex workers who are studying themselves. For those who are carers. Who want to be able to pay for their shopping. It is the solution for people who are discriminated against in the labour market because they are trans, because of their skin colour, because of their womanhood. When sex workers are banned from doing their jobs, their lives become more difficult.
Sex work is often seen as a problem. But sex work is work. It gives an income, independence. Sex work is not the problem, but the solution.
For sex workers with studying children, or for sex workers who are studying themselves. For those who are carers. Who want to be able to pay for their groceries. It is the solution for people who are discriminated against in the labour market because they are trans, because of their skin colour, because of their womanhood. If sex workers are banned from doing their jobs, their lives will become more difficult.
Who is this official who decides this?
I am afraid.
More sex workers are going to experience more violence if this law passes. Sex workers who do not want, dare or are not allowed in a whore register will be driven even deeper into illegality. To there, where lawlessness rules, far away from colleagues, assistance and police.
WHORE! is the worst swear word for a woman. Whores do not deserve respect but contempt and humiliation. And are therefore often, the target of violence
The disappeared workplaces , the refusal of corona emergency support, the housing evictions, the fines, the restraining orders, the self-reliance test, the whore registry. Banning, prosecuting, punishing. Hunting sex workers increases prejudice about sex workers and the stigma on sex work. It makes violence acceptable and the deserved reward of sex workers, whores, sluts and hoes. It becomes more dangerous for sex workers, and for anyone who does not abide by the imposed sexual morality! STIGMA KILLS
All of us, we want to live in a country where no one has to be afraid. A country where sex workers are safe, where women and men, where all people are safe.
I do have an idea how!
Give us rights!
This idea is not crazy, new or impossible. Last year, in our neighbouring country and hopefully our front country Belgium, sex workers were given the same rights as other people. In Belgium, they developed this policy together with sex workers. It is about their safety. And sex workers have the most knowledge, experience and expertise about sex work. So!
We cannot do this alone. We need your help! A happy coincidence: NOW is the time! You can help!
Write a response to this bill, the Sex Workers Regulation Act. You can do this just at home, from behind your computer, in your own words. You have exactly 11 days from today! Together we can change the lives of sex workers for the better! This is the beginning!
It is very scary for me to participate in this. But I am standing here anyway. To show: We are here!
Visibility of sex workers leads to normalisation, and to more acceptance of sexual diversity. So that all people, all of us, everyone standing here on Dam Square today, feel free to be open, whoever or whatever we are.
Today I am not afraid
I am not alone
I am with you
Together we are safe