New rules for sex workers in Belgium – level 3

25-06-2024 15:00

In Belgium, sex workers can now sign job contracts with approved employers, which gives them the same social rights as other employees.

This new law was adopted in May 2024 and is a significant effort to regulate the sector. Previously, sex workers in Belgium often operated in a legal gray area, being paid in cash or under waitress contracts. Supporters of the law argue it will prevent abuse by providing clear legal guidelines. Employers must have clean criminal records, authorization to operate, and respect workers’ rights, including the right to refuse clients.

Critics believe the law commodifies women’s bodies and doesn’t address issues faced by migrant sex workers and trafficking victims. Despite this, many in the sector see the reform as a realistic approach to an existing issue. The long-term impact of this law on sex workers’ conditions and trafficking will take years to evaluate.

Difficult words: guideline (a general rule or principle), criminal record (an official record of crimes that a person has committed), commodify (to treat something as a product), trafficking (trading in something illegal).

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What are some potential criticisms of the new law in Belgium that allows sex workers to sign job contracts with approved employers?


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