Posted on: August 30, 2016
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A new Dutch prostitution law still has to be voted on in the senate but it could have big consequences for the industry as a whole when implemented. The Dutch senate is expected to vote yes in autumn 2016 with the law being implemented not too shortly after the vote. The bill is named “Wet Regulering Prostitutie” (abbreviated WRP) in Dutch, literally translated: Law Regulating Prostitution.
In Holland prostitution is legal under certain conditions whereby legalization is based on the idea of the state regulating sex workers. In this system sex work isn’t punishable. This stands in contrast to a system used in other countries that criminalizes prostitution or related activities. Sex work in those foreign systems is illegal and punishable.
The biggest negative impact will be on the brothel operators. Dutch municipalities will no longer be able to demand a permit from homeworkers (sex workers who get paid for sex and only work in their own home) under this new law. In other words: it will be far easier for sex workers to start their own business at home. In practical terms many starting (and experienced) sex workers will start working from home and won’t report themselves to the Dutch tax authority.
Because they will not be paying taxes they will be able to undercut the brothel operators, sex clubs and private houses in the Netherlands. These companies with permits will not be able to escape from the tax authority. How big the eventual increase in homeworkers will be is hard to predict. In the current marketplace Dutch authorities do little to track down homeworkers. Usually the authorities only act when they get complaints from the neighbours/ neighbourhood. This situation has been going on for years so we expect little to change.
All current licenses for sex industry furnishing will end a half-year after the new Dutch prostitution law comes into effect, even if a current licensing was just renewed and expected to last for years. Under the new Dutch prostitution law municipalities will be able to supplement existing demands for acquiring a license. Municipalities are increasingly demanding detailed business plans from brothel operators. The business plan needs to contain the implementation of hygiene policies. Older brothels with plush fabrics and plush floor covering will probably not meet the new hygiene standards set under the new Dutch law. This would imply high replacement costs when the law comes into effect.
The new sex worker project called “Own Window” (in vernacular: “Municipal Brothel”) has been delayed. It is now expected to start operating on the 1st of January 2017. In this new government project sex workers will be able to independently run their own little window brothel under flexibel legal conditions. During the first years the sex workers will be assisted by social work organizations.