Global Network of Sex Work Projects (Mr N McCulloch)
7 juni 2018
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We are very concerned by the content if this bill as it is currently structured as it will have extremely adverse consequences for the health, safety and human rights of sex workers in the Netherlands. NSWP accepts that exploitation and harm can occur in relationships between third parties and sex workers. However, we entirely reject the notion that third parties, by their very nature, are always and inevitably abusive or exploitative.
The criminalisation of third parties, and laws against organising, managing and facilitating sex work: ? Expose sex workers to increased vulnerability to HIV transmission, in contravention of the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Recommendation 200 ? Force sex workers into more dangerous and harmful working conditions ? Are used by authorities to prosecute and harass sex workers directly ? Are used to prosecute the friends and family members of sex workers ? Are used by authorities to harass sex workers and limit their access to housing and services
Additionally, layers of excessive regulation and the complex system of mandatory registration within the Netherlands leads to the creation of a two-tiered sex industry, with a small ‘legal’ sector where a select group of individuals are able to comply with the high levels of regulation (e.g. payment of large fees for a brothel license), while other sex work businesses continue to operate illegally and the sex workers within those continue to work without any legal protections.
In the Netherlands, sex workers who work outside the licensing arrangements (and thus ‘illegal’ under this Bill) currently have little or no opportunity to apply for a license. If they wish to work independently, they have no opportunities to do so legally. Whilst the opportunities for sex workers to work independently remain so limited, it is completely counter-intuitive and dangerous to further criminalise those who assist in ‘unlicensed’ sex work.
With the addition of this new law, independent sex workers can not engage the services of e.g. an accountant, driver, or use internet platforms to advertise and screen clients carefully. Their partners, families, friends and other colleagues will be effectively criminalised, e.g. for sharing housing costs, working together for safety etc. We urge you to urgently reconsider the content of this Bill.