Sex work is legal everywhere, but nearly all Dutch cities ban the practice at home
While sex work has been a legal profession in the Netherlands since 2000, only three of the 352 Dutch municipalities allow the practice at home. Sex workers can only receive customers at home in Lelystad, Tilburg, and Assen, which specifically relaxed their policies to allow it, Pointer reports based on its own research into municipalities' licensing rules.
Sex workers need a permit to work from home. But, according to Pointer, almost all municipalities ban sex workers from working independently - there must always be an operator involved - so they can't get a permit. Other independent professionals like hairdressers, nail technicians, and masseurs are allowed to work from home. Zoning plans also often ensure that sex work is not permitted in residential locations.
This local policy puts sex workers in a vulnerable position, Rodney Haan of the Center for Crime Prevention and Security (CCV) said to Pointer. "They will continue to do their work, but they will do it in the gray circuit. If they need help, they do not dare go to the authorities."
In Lelystad, for example, sex workers can register as home workers and have the option to share their data with aid agencies. Though so far, only one sex worker has registered with the municipality, Lelystad policy advisor Rob de Bie said to the program. "A great deal of mistrust has been built up among sex workers, in particular the fear that the police will act repressively when sex workers are found in the homes. We try to win back that trust by offering safety and assistance," De Bie said.