Re: News/Holland: Dutch give green light to red-light district

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Subject: Re: News/Holland: Dutch give green light to red-light district
From: by way of Melanie Orhant ( )
Date: Wed Nov 03 1999 - 21:57:00 EST

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Date: Wed, 03 Nov 1999 00:40:57 +0100
From: marjan wijers <>
Subject: Re: News/Holland: Dutch give green light to red-light district
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Just one little problem we still have to tackle: also after the lift of the
ban on brothels it will still not be possible for migrant sexworkers to get
a legal working permit to work in the sex industry on the basis of a
special ruling attached to the Law on Migrant Workers (WAV), that prohibits
the issue of working permits for labour in the sex industry. There is no
other type of labour for which the Law on Migrant Workers per definition
prohibits the issue of working permits.
I also have to say that this prohibition is to a great extent inspired by
the fact that the normal mechanisms of the concerned law to decide whether
or not there is a priority EU-offer of workers (if there is, employers can
not get a working permit, if there is not, a working permit to hire a
non-EU citizen can be issued) does not (at least not yet) function in the
case of prostitution, in combination with the general ever more restrictive
alien's policies.
To establish oneself as an independent worker when coming from outside the
EU is perhaps even more difficult, except in the case of countries that
have an Association Treaty with the EU (like Poland, Czech and a number of
other CEEC's). In that case, the Treaty states that independent/ self
employed workers who want to establish themselves in a EU country are not
to be treated less favourable than EU citizens. At this moment, there are
several procedures pending before Dutch Courts Central and Eastern European
sexworkers, invoking this treaty and demanding to be issued a residence and
working permit as independent workers on the basis of this Treaty. Of
course the Ministry of Justice refuses this on several grounds, one of the
arguments being that sexwork is not work in the sense of the Association
Treaties!!! In this framework, one of the Courts has asked a pre-judicial
judgment (according to art. 177 EC Treaty) to the European (EC) Court of
Justice on how the Association Treaties must be interpreted in the case of
sexwork. So, we are all very curious how the Court will rule....

My guess is that in the end this exception will be ruled by the Dutch Court
to be unlawfull at one point - however, not necessarily in the near future.
Things will need time, but there certainly is a development that Courts no
longer see sexwork as a 'special case', but just apply general laws and
rules along the same lines as in non-sexwork cases ( like the Maastricht
Court that ruled a general ban on streetwalking in violation with the right
to free choice of profession).

Marjan Wijers

At 17:14 29-10-99 -0400, you wrote:
>Melanie's Comments: Finally a country that has responded to the issue
>of trafficking for forced prostitution in a way that does not criminalize
>migratory sex workers or native sex workers. Instead the Dutch gov'ts
>response will help protect the rights of sex workers and also help those
>Way to go Holland!
>Dutch give green light to red-light district
>AMSTERDAM, Oct 26 (Reuters) - A near century-long ban on brothels in the
>Netherlands was lifted on Tuesday when the upper house of parliament
>approved legislation that aims to bring the country's sex industry out of
>the shadows.
>Proponents of the law, which got the green light from the lower house in
>February, argue it will reduce trafficking in women, cut down on child
>prostitution and crowd out criminal elements.
>Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands but brothels were banned in 1911
>by Calvinist campaigners who sought to punish those exploiting women. The
>prostitutes were considered victims.
>An estimated 2,000 brothels in the country will have to register with local
>governments, meet safety standards and confirm they do not hire illegal
>Some 60 percent of the country's estimated 25,000 prostitutes are illegal
>immigrants, experts say.
>Brothel owners will also have to submit themselves to background checks.
>Politicians have been wrangling over whether to legalise brothels and sex
>clubs for a decade and in the meantime enforcement authorities have looked
>the other way.
>Landlords renting rooms to prostitutes who display themselves in windows in
>Amsterdam's Red Light district will also fall under the new law.
>Under the law, the prison sentence for exploiting minors will be raised to
>six years from one.
>Only the opposition Christian Democrats and other small religious parties
>opposed the law, a parliamentary spokeswoman said.
>09:46 10-26-99
>Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
>Melanie Orhant
>STOP-TRAFFIC is a facilitated, international electronic mailing list
>dealing with human rights abuses associated with trafficking in
>persons, with an emphasis on trafficking in persons for forced
>prostitution, sweatshop labor, domestic service and coercive mail order
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Marjan Wijers
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