Gov't must step in to support sex workers, parties urge

Sex worker on a bed
File photo of a sex worker on a bedPhoto: AndrewLozovyi / DepositPhotos

Parties from both in and outside of the ruling coalition have called on the cabinet to take action to protect the financial wellbeing of sex workers in the Netherlands, following the economic fallout caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.

"Despite repeated requests, action has so far failed to materialize," the CDA, ChristenUnie and opposition party PvdA affirmed in a statement. All the while, they claim, many sex workers "do not even have money for food." 

The lack of income has forced some sex workers underground, who now operate out of their own homes despite the risks to public health. The parties have joined forces to call on the cabinet to "really start moving" in support of a "very vulnerable" group of people.

Many sex workers in the Netherlands are unable to claim financial assistance from the government, the parties claim, due to the fact that many are not registered as self-employed persons with the Chamber of Commerce (KvK). According to the parties, this places sex workers at risk of an "acute bread shortage".

Aside from the request, the CDA, ChristenUnie and PvdA have additionally urged the cabinet to guarantee that there is enough assistance for sex workers who want to get out of the industry.

A similar support package is being developed in Groningen, which is concerned about the sex workers who practice there. While they do not have to pay the rent for their window brothel space, they have also been unable to earn income. Several have told aid workers there they want take advantage of the intelligent lockdown response to the pandemic as a way to find jobs in other industries.