HomeWorldSex work from home row splits the Netherlands

Sex work from home row splits the Netherlands


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Dutch cities have warned that plans to allow sex workers to work from home will be a “nuisance” for families.

Some authorities are in favour but other cities fear it will cause antisocial behaviour in residential neighbourhoods and make it harder to spot abuse.

Sex work is legal in the Netherlands but the laws have not been updated for 15 years.

Now, traditional brothels are increasingly being replaced by sex workers booking clients online and seeing them at their home. Supporters of modernising the law say regulation is needed to keep up with the practice.

The new sex work regulation act would make it possible for sex workers to welcome clients at home, just as hairdressers and beauticians can.

They must meet certain conditions, be at least 21, and apply for a permit, according to the controversial bill.

NOS, the state broadcaster, spoke to local authorities in a string of Dutch municipalities and found wildly divergent views.

The municipality of Kaag en Braassem in South Holland voiced concerns about the “nuisance” such a law could bring to its neighbourhoods.

“If sex work takes place in the private sphere, it is difficult to gain insight into possible abuses,” it said.

Beverwijk in North Holland said neighbourhoods would feel less safe, while Dalfsen said it was easier to monitor working conditions in a sex club than at a private address.

Almelo, in the eastern Netherlands, was concerned the rule change could unintentionally make it easier to exploit sex workers.


“A pimp can rent homes and employ sex workers there without violating the law, policy or zoning,” the municipality of Leeuwarden told NOS.

Some municipalities, including Rotterdam, Tilburg, Hilversum and Utrecht, already allow working from home for sex workers.

The conditions include a requirement for the worker to live at the address and be independent. They are not allowed to advertise too obviously or have a noticeable flow of customers.

In the municipality of Lingewaard, sex work is not permitted from rental properties.

In Enschede, sex workers are not allowed to work in flats or near schools and there cannot be too many working from home in the same area.

Other municipalities doubted that the permit requirement would be effective in stamping out abuse.

Many municipalities had not yet decided on their position on the national legislation.

Sex workers are against the mandatory registration because some want to keep their job secret and others fear clients will be criminalised if they don’t have the right papers, NOS reported.

Reforms to Dutch sex work laws have repeatedly been delayed. This bill was put on ice when Mark Rutte’s coalition government collapsed last year.

The law will not be progressed until the Netherlands has a new government.

Tough coalition talks have dragged on since Right-wing firebrand Geert Wilders’ party won the most seats in the general election last November.

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