Re: Brothel legalization-Trafficking prevention

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Subject: Re: Brothel legalization-Trafficking prevention
Date: Thu Feb 04 1999 - 09:30:26 EST

Dear Sue,

Over the last years we (Foundation Against Trafficking in Women) have been
advocating that when the ban on brothels is lifted, prostitution should
consequently be dealt with as labour and that migrant workers who want to
work in the sex industry should be treated on a equal footing with migrant
workers seeking work in other industries. However, the proposed bill
excluded non-EC sexworkers from the possibility of getting legal working
permits. We have opposed this continuously over the years, but without
success. To my estimation, the lack of success is mainly due to the
increasingly anti-immigrant policies and general climate, although of
course it has been defended as a measure against trafficking in women ("If
we prevent women from coming, they cannot become victims of trafficking as
well".) At the same time, politicians recognize that excluding non-EC
sexworkers from legal working possibilities will only drive them further
underground. However, they think they can solve the growth of an illegal
circuit through more police activity. This means that also under the new
law, it will be impossible for non-EC sexworkers to work on a legal basis
in the Netherlands.

For anyone who is interested, in short our position has been and is:
- The abolishment of the ban on brothels should also provide protection to
the weakest group of workers in the sexindustry, notably sexworkers from
outside the EC.
- The position of non-EC sexworkers should be made as much as possible
equal to the position of national sexworkers, in order to weaken the grip
of third persons on this group and to make trafficking (defined by abusive
and coercive recruitment and working conditions) less profitable
- Recognition of prostitution as labour and equal treatment of non-EC
workers in the sex industry with non-EC workers in other industries,
offers the best basis for improvement of their position, the repression of
criminal practices and the combat of abusive and coercive practices.
- Sexworkers from non-EC countries should have the possibility under
certain conditions and for a certain period of time to work in the sex
industry in the Netherlands on a legal basis. Such a policy should be in
keeping with the general laws and regulations that regulate the admission
of migrant workers in other industries in the Netherlands (i.c.: the Law on
Migrant Labour)
- The proposed exclusion of non-EC sexworkers from legal labour in the
Netherlands is contradictory with the principles on which the proposed Bill
on the abolition of ban on brothels is based, and with the policies on
trafficking as developed up till now. It will further marginalise this
group and push them group deeper into illegality. It will block their
access to health and social services, increase their dependency from
malafide and criminal third persons, and in this way increase their
vulnerablity to trafficking and other abusive and coercive practices.

Marjan Wijers
Foundation Againts Traffiking in Women
The Netherlands

>>Hi Jan:
>>Currently in Australia we are in the process of having legislation drafted
>>re- the issue of "sex slavery" Read "illegal workers in the sex industry".
>> Of course the sex worker rights movement is running the line that most of
>>these women knowingly enter into contracts to work as sex workers in
>>AUstralia and we are suggesting that the govt. should allow for short term
>>working visas for these workers. Currently does anything like that happen
>>in the Netherlands?? I thought that I had recently heard that foreign
>>(illegal) sex workers were given the option of staying on short term
>>working visas or returning to their own countries?? Can you clarify this
>>for me please if you know.
>>Sue Metzenrath
>>> From: Jan Visser <>
>>> To: Multiple recipients of list <stop-traffic@SOLAR.RTD.UTK.EDU>
>>> Subject: Re: Brothel legalization-Trafficking prevention
>>> Date: Wednesday, 3 February 1999 01:36
>>> Hi Carol,
>>> The article from the Associated Press is reasonably correct.
>>> At our website you will find a piece I wrote on the legalisation proces,
>>> will find it at <> and than look under the heading
>>> 'prostitution in the netherlands'. There I give the wording of the law
>>> proposal and explain the motives. What happened last week was the debate
>>> the house of representatives. It became clear that a large majority
>>> this legalisation of the exploitation of voluntary prostitution (at the
>>> time the penalties against force, violence and trafficking are
>>> Off course there are a lot of question marks, and yours truly is given
>>> assignment by the ministry of justice to do a 4 year monitoring and
>>> evaluation study, which we called De Profeit Studie.
>>> Among the issues are:
>>> the legal position of women from outside the European Union, they will
>>> get the option for a working permit, that will bring about massive
>>> and hidden prostitution,
>>> the nature of labour contracts, can prostitutes be employers or will they
>>> definition be self-employed?,
>>> the juridical competence of local government to design licenses including
>>> issues like working conditions, safety, sanitary measures,
>>> the way in which prostitutes will be integrated in the social welfare
>>> with regard to for instance unemployment benefits, sick pay, pension
>>> schemes.
>>> Next week the house of representatives will vote, then the bill will go
>>> the senate, which might discuss it in the spring. The foreseen entry date
>>> january 1, 2000.
>>> If you have questions, please ask.
>>> Love,
>>> Jan Visser
>>> Mr A. de Graaf Stichting, Amsterdam
>>> <> or
>>> <>

Marjan Wijers
Foundation Against Trafficking in Women (STV), Netherlands
General STV email address:

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