A number of Dutch political parties have called upon the government to provide financial assistance to sex workers who have been left without an income during the coronavirus pandemic, Dutch News reported.
“Despite repeated requests, nothing has yet been done, even though many prostitutes do not even have money to eat”, Christian Union, Christian Democrats and the opposing Labour party (PvdA) reportedly said during a series of joint questions to the cabinet’s ministers.
In a joint statement, the parties then demanded the Third Rutte - Dutch cabinet – to act on behalf of this “extremely vulnerable” group of sex workers, following a national ban on work that require touching in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
“Action needed for sex workers who get into trouble because of the corona crisis”, Labour MP Attje Kuiken reiterated on Twitter. “[We have to] prevent them from seeing no other way out than going into illegality. Human traffickers and other criminals now see their chance, we must cut it off”.
Actie nodig voor sekswerkers die door de coronacrisis in de problemen komen. Voorkomen dat ze geen andere uitweg zien dan de illegaliteit in te gaan. Mensenhandelaren en andere criminelen zien nu hun kans schoon, die moeten we de pas afsnijden. Daarom kamervragen met CU en CDA👇🏻 pic.twitter.com/IAT63W1bQt— Attje Kuiken 👩🏫👮♀️👩💼👩⚕️ (@attjekuiken) April 25, 2020
Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands, and many sex workers are registered with the Chamber of Trade (KvK) and pay taxes. However, the government, which is now practicing a so-called “intelligent lockdown” with many public places still open and shops operating, has introduced a ban on “contact work” that has seen the closure of brothels, beauty salons and some other businesses that serve customers. Many Dutch prostitutes have been left without any income, and despite being registered with KvK, have not been able to receive financial help.
“It is really shocking how many sex workers in the Netherlands, who work legally and pay taxes, have NO access to Corona support”, Amsterdam-based support group Prostitution Information Center wrote on Twitter. “Various questions have already been asked about this in the second chamber, but there is still no action from the cabinet”.
Het is echt schokkend hoeveel sekswerkers in Nederland, die legaal werken en belasting betalen, GEEN toegang hebben tot Corona steun. Er zijn al diverse vragen over gesteld in de 2e kamer, maar er komt nog steeds geen actie vanuit het kabinet. #sekswerkiswerk #Covid19— PIC Amsterdam (@pic_amsterdam) April 24, 2020
It is believed that the crisis has been even harder on those sex workers not registered with the authority, or not having an EU passport, who will definitely not receive financial support.
With around 37,380 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country, according to data provided by the Johns Hopkins University on 26 April, Netherlands still has one of the highest infection-related mortality rates in the world, with almost 4,500 people reported dead.