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NEW LAWS FOR SEX WORKERS IN BELGIUM

Finally The Law has Changed

The Belgian National Parliament, agreed on new laws for those involved in sex work in Belgium, on the 17th of March and they became active on the 1st of June 2022.

Why Do I Care About This

I do not pay for, what I consider, sexual services but I do on occasions employ the skills of professional Dommes and Disciplinarians and they come under the classification of sex workers. Some of them do offer sexual services, I do not seek that part of their services, they are offered but are not compulsory. Many only offer BDSM services.

The Situation Before

It was technically legal to participate in paid for sexual services in Belgium, both for the provider and the client. However, this law was overly simple and has a clause to stop a third party from profiting from this transaction. This was designed to penalize pimps and people traffickers and I agree with their activities being restricted or hopefully stopped. BUT, and it is a big but, this law was badly written and can be interpreted that anyone taking money earned from sex work can be prosecuted. For example, if a sex worker uses his or her hard-earned cash to buy a loaf of bread, then the bakery that sells that bread can be prosecuted for profiting from the earnings of sex work.

And Then There Were Protests

This left Belgian sex workers in a grey area of being neither officially employed nor unemployed or self-employed, although they are still expected to pay taxes on their earnings and I believe that most of them do. During the time of COVID-19 restrictions, most sex workers were unable to make a living, but were not entitled to government support and financial aid as other taxpayers were. This caused protests and highlighted the issue. And so finally a new set of laws was agreed and are now in place.

As Of 1st June 2022 The New Laws Are…

A law passed in March by the Belgian parliament came into force in June, allowing sex workers to live legally, decriminalizing their work, and awarding them rights in terms of status, social protection, and health, etc. These provisions were sought by federal Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne, a Flemish liberal. They will make Belgium the first European country to adopt such measures, only the second in the world after New Zealand. In the future, sex workers (95% of whom are women) will have the same rights as other self-employed workers, including social security, unemployment, access to healthcare, maternity leave, etc. Additionally, all third parties who assist their work will no longer be prosecuted, except in cases of abnormal profit.

Until now, any banker, accountant, insurer, legal adviser or even web designer who “assisted” a sex worker could be considered the perpetrator of a crime, as were the owners of properties that sex workers used for their business. In the future, property owners will no longer be on the wrong side of the law, unless they make excessive profits by demanding higher rents than normal, as is frequently the case.

AND THAT IS THE NEW SITUATION IN BELGIUM

Prefectdt

4 responses »

  1. Hi Prefectdt, this is interesting, a very good law change that ultimately provides sex workers with protections and entitlements they didn’t previously have.

    As you mentioned, we introduced law reform quite a number of years ago and sex workers are represented by a collective here.

    Hugs
    Roz

    Reply
  2. Thank you for this update, Prefectdt! Glad to hear that sex workers will now have the same rights/benefits as people in other industries. XOXO

    Reply
  3. Shame that more countries don’t do this, nora. Everyone deserves their rights.

    Prefectdt

    Reply

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