We in the Netherlands have been confronted for the first time with what happens when sex work is made illegal in a country
Sex workers were banned from working while also, as the only tax-paying professional group due to complicated tax systems and impenetrable municipal rules, being excluded from covid emergency support. Sex workers were starving…
At the same time, municipalities and police increased their controls on sex workers advertising on the internet! A sex worker thinks to open the door for a client and then suddenly there are 5 police officers in front of him or her. If you read in the newspaper again that an illegal prostitution business has been closed down, remember could be too that tax paying sex worker who got homeless now
Sex workers who are raped or robbed are afraid to go to the police for fear of consequences such as fines, restraining orders and evictions and even land evictions. Criminals unfortunately know this all too well
In a short time, things have gotten completely out of hand. Violence against sex workers has increased and is extremely malicious. Sex work hasn’t disappeared now that it’s been banned, it’s just become dangerous
•A friend told me that she had driven to a camping in the middle of the night because the owner discovered that a colleague was receiving clients and he then threw her out of her chalet at 3 o’clock in her lingerie
•I read in the newspaper that a sex worker jumped off a balcony when she got police men at her door
•During a sex worker meeting a woman told about her co-worker who had been pushed down the stairs by a client, she had broken her legs, she didn’t dare to go to the police or even to the hospital
•I heard from a care worker that she had had a crying brothel owner on the phone, one of the erotic masseuses of his salon died due to suicide
•On the news it was about a sex worker who was murdered
•Some of my dear colleagues I have never seen again, I cant reach them anymore, nobody knows where they are
Thank God these times are over!!
We hope never to experience this again. Right?
But what the fuck does our government does?
Our ministers decides to carry out the WRS (Wet Repressie Sekswerk, the Sex Workers Repression Law) a law that will make sex work illegal, criminalize it even more, and give police more possibilities to punish us; to be fined, to be evicted from our homes, to be deported from the Netherlands. We have seen what happens when sex work is made illegal in a country. How many more victims will be added?
Sex workers serve a lot of men, and most of the clients are nice and easy guys, but once in a while then there might be a asshole among them. Assholes will specifically seek out sex workers who are working illegally
Don’t give assholes that opportunity!
I am even more worried about male sex workers, transgender sex workers, migrant sex workers and sex workers with addictions. This are sex workers who have a double stigma and these are usually the sex workers who will not or cannot register under the rules of the WRS and they are at increased risk of violence. We have seen and experienced it
Most people consider a whore the lowest of the low; whores do not deserve respect but contempt and humiliation and are therefore often the target of “justified” violence. Driving sex workers into illegality increases violence on sex workers. It becomes more dangerous for sex workers, whores, sluts, hoes and for anyone who does not abide by the imposed sexual morality!
We, everyone present here, we all, we want a country where violence is no longer tolerated by anyone. A country where all sex workers, with or without a licence, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, residency status, age, lifestyle or work method are safe. Where we can be allies
I do have an idea how we can do this. Give us labour rights !
This is not a crazy new idea or impossible to implement. New Zealand is first country in the world that gave sex workers the same rights as other workers. And the second country in the world is our neighbour and hopefully forerunner Belgium. In both countries, this policy was created together with sex workers
Talk to sex workers! Listen to us. We are the first ones who have an interest in a sector free of coercion and exploitation.
As Daan from the Belgian sex workers association Utsopi wrote: “Do you really want to help us? Give us rights!”
Let Belgium be our guide country!
And what can you do now?
Be an ally of sex workers. Speak out. Take a button from the jar and put it on. Sex Work is work! Engage with friends and family and strangers on the street about labour rights of sex workers. Maybe after that button
And when we go to The Hague again to protest the WRS, join us! We will go again during the discussion of this law in the first and second chamber, dates are not yet known, but please keep an eye on it
Support us! Be our ally! You will be loved by all sex workers! Sex workers are awesome people!