The Count Me In! consortium, along with Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) and European Sex Workers Alliance (ESWA) and other feminist organisations, urge the government of the Netherlands to reject amendments to the Wet Regulering Sekswerk (WRS) and work towards the full decriminalisation of sex work in the Netherlands.
Sex workers’ rights advocates in the Netherlands have long voiced their opposition to the WRS, which further criminalises and marginalises sex workers by imposing mandatory licensing and registration, while also criminalising third parties and clients of unlicensed sex workers.
Not only do the proposed amendments to the WRS fail to address these concerns, but they will only further erode sex workers’ human rights while undermining efforts to combat trafficking and sexual exploitation.
Therefore, we urge the government not only to reject the amendments but also to fully decriminalise sex work in line with international best practices and the repeated calls of sex workers. This process must be undertaken in meaningful collaboration with sex worker-led organisations and their allies to ensure an evidence- and human rights-based approach.
International best practice guidelines, supported by a substantial body of evidence, promote the full decriminalisation of sex work as the best means to reduce violence, improve health outcomes, and uphold the human rights of sex workers. Decriminalisation guarantees sex workers the same health and safety standards as other workers. Decriminalisation is the legal framework favoured by the overwhelming majority of sex worker-led organisations worldwide, as well as leading authorities in health and human rights.
Banner photo: Sex workers’ procession in London. Credit: Vera Rodriguez.