Netherlands Begins Reopening, But Sex Workers Remain Out Of Jobs

LOS ANGELES—Throughout the coronavirus crisis, and the economic devastation it has caused, sex workers have found themselves losing all or most of their income — and receiving only minimal help from government relief programs, if they include sex workers at all. But in the Netherlands, the country is beginning a phased-in “reopening” process designed to allow workers of all types to begin earning money again. And yet, sex workers there are being left behind even as the Dutch economy attempts to get on its feet again. The Netherlands this week is reopening schools, libraries and many types of businesses — including hair salons. But Amsterdam’s iconic Red Light District, and other adult entertainment zones around the country of 17 million, must remain closed until September, the projected date of the final “reopening” phase. Meanwhile, restaurants and bars — which attract much larger, concentrated crowds, prime vectors for transmitting the virus — may be allowed to reopen by July.  “The reason to put it on the last group is really strange, especially because it’s always one to one, and not in a crowd or whatever,” Masten Stavast, who rents more than 30 windows to sex workers in the Red Light District, told Voice of America. “If everything goes all right on July 1, there can be 100 people together, why not one to one then with all the protection that everybody has?” While the Netherlands has been in the forefront of legalizing — and regulating — sex work, the country has been less generous in extending sex workers rights on par with other workers. And local governments there have taken steps to break up Red Light districts, as well as to make it more difficult for sex workers to work from home, outside of the designated districts. Now some in the Netherlands fear that the restrictions placed on legal sex work during the coronavirus lockdowns may become part of a permanent crackdown. “The city council of Amsterdam but also the national government, they’re both in the procedure of creating new laws and regulations around sex work and they turn out to be very restrictive,” independent sex worker Yvette Luhrs told VOA. “And the fact that the brothels are closed now and people are in this corona scare, we assume they will use this crisis to push their new laws.” Photo By Public Domain Pictures / Pixabay 

written by: Michael French

source: Netherlands Begins Reopening, But Sex Workers Remain Out Of Jobs | AVN

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