Sex workers submit hygiene protocol to start working again

Signs in Amsterdam's Red Light District thanking healthcare workers. May 28, 2020
Signs in Amsterdam's Red Light District thanking healthcare workers. May 28, 2020NL TimesNL Times

A group of organizations representing sex workers submitted a hygiene protocol with which they believe they can limit the spread of the coronavirus enough that sex workers can start working again. Measures include things like changing the bed linen after every customer, and sex workers only working one-on-one or with a couple that shares a household, ANP reports.

SekswerkExpertise, a platform that stands for improving the position of sex workers, based the protocol largely on existing protocols for other contact professions that were allowed to start up again a month ago, like hairdressers and beauticians. As the coronavirus measures currently stand, sex work will be banned until September. But with this protocol, the sector hopes to be able to start up again on Monday.

In addition to changing bed linen and limiting customers, the protocol also includes measures like frequently disinfecting all objects on which they and customers breathe heavily, adapting activities so that sex workers and customers avoid each others' "moist breathing zone", and sex workers showering or washing before and after every appointment.

According to sex workers interest organization Proud, sex workers feel excluded from coronavirus aid. A number of sex workers in Amsterdam were facing eviction because they have not been able to pay their rent for three months. Some are currently living on a diet of bread alone because they can't afford hot food, a spokesperson for Proud said to the news wire. 

Sex workers are very strict about their health and hygiene, according to the organizations, and the fact that they are not allowed to work is the result of arbitrariness.