belgium sex worker

Sex workers getting the same rights as workers in other industries

Belgium has taken a significant step in regulating sex work by passing new legislation that provides sex workers with the same social rights as other employees. This development follows the decriminalization of sex work two years ago and now allows sex workers to be formally employed and receive social security benefits.

Sex workers can sign employment contracts

Under the new regulations, sex workers can sign employment contracts with licensed employers, aiming to bring clarity and protections to a previously gray legal area. Previously, host bars and erotic massage salons operated in a legal limbo, with sex workers often paid in cash or employed under dubious contracts.

The government’s objective with this law is to offer clear regulations for the sector by decriminalizing specific forms of pimping, establishing a status tailored to the unique aspects of sex work, and ensuring access to unemployment benefits, health insurance, and maternity leave.

Did you know? Austria has a well-regulated sex work industry, where workers can earn good money and work in safe, clean brothels. Read more about this topic in this article:

They must undergo a criminal background check and obtain a lincense

To legally hire sex workers, employers must undergo a criminal background check, obtain a business license, and be based in Belgium. Employers are also required to respect their employees’ right to refuse a client and to end any sexual act at any time.

However, the reform has faced criticism, particularly from feminist groups who argue that it commercializes the female body and does not adequately address the plight of migrant sex workers and victims of human trafficking.

Without work permits, these individuals cannot be legally employed under the new law.

Mireia Crespo, director of isala, an organization supporting sex workers in precarious situations, warned that the law could benefit pimps and traffickers who already enjoy significant impunity in Belgium.

Did you know? There is a Nordic Prostitution Model, which aims to protect sex workers by criminalizing the purchase of sex instead of punishing the sellers. However, there are numerous disadvantages to this model, as detailed in this article:

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