Sex workers working without a brothel license may risk a prison sentence of up to six months.
On 12 October 2015, the Act Regulating Prostitution (WRP) was taken up by the House of Representatives in the Netherlands, which is their parliament. The WRP proposes to criminalise all sex workers without authorisation/licensure, including independent
sex workers and camgirls/camboys. According to the Research and Documentation Centre, this will affect one third of all sex workers. Parliament will vote on the law proposal before the end of the year. Most political parties have expressed their support
of the law.
Felicia Anna and Hella Dee from PROUD, the Dutch union for sex workers, explained the sex workers' side:
Holland is moving more into criminalizing sex workers, violating their privacy rights and is moving away from Amnesty's proposal to decriminalize it and protect sex workers' rights. This country is really going crazy
It is often the only option for sex workers who wish to work independently in a situation where cities consistently refuse to give out licenses to any sex worker due to stigma. By working unlicensed, sex workers also avoid the oppressive regulations and
financially exploitative reality of the legal framework.
The main problem with 'prostitution' in Holland, is the shortage of workplaces due to the constant closures of legal workplaces (40% has been closed down already), while it's impossible to get a permit for a new workplace. But now they actually want to
throw sex workers in jail for not being able to get this impossible to get permit.
According to Hella Dee, unlicensed sex workers face all the issues of working within a criminalised environment, especially regarding police harassment. Sex workers report an increase in police violence and intimidation. Police officers out sex workers
to landlords and non-sex work employers, leading to eviction and loss of non-sex work income. Parents are reported to social services based solely on their profession. Police officers enter sex worker homes without their permission and ask personal
questions about their private (sex) lives - the proposed Act Regulation Prostitution (WRP) aims to legalise this practice. Tax office will demand high fines based on unrealistic assumptions about the number of clients sex workers see.
PROUD calls on all Members of Parliament to speak out against the WRP. PROUD also calls on the association of sex workers and allies to take action against this law.