Amsterdam is to introduce a series of measures to prevent abuse in the sex worker sector. Among the new rules is a language test to establish whether they are able to support themselves and a ban on working double shifts. The measures are to take effect on 1 January 2013.
The Amsterdam council on Friday published its new sex worker policy until 2017. The council has decided to put more responsibility on the shoulders of the owners of brothels. As of next year they must draw up an operational plan which includes safeguards for sex workers’ working conditions. The owners are also to implement measures to prevent unsafe sex and keep rosters enabling the authorities to enforce the ban on double shifts. Owners must be present in their businesses during opening hours.
The city will further professionalise the care afforded to sex workers and extend it to include escort services and sex workers working from home. The council says it will not hesitate to take action whenever forced prostitution or people trafficking is suspected.
“Prostitution is a vulnerable profession,” says Mayor Eberhard van der Laan. “It often involves an unequal power relationship between owners and prostitutes. We need to change that power relationship.”
When an owner fails to adhere to one or more of the new rules, their business can be temporarily closed or their licence revoked. Amsterdam is home to an estimated 5,000 to 8,000 sex workers.