Belgian Government Will Intervene In Cases Where Prostitutes Refuse Sexual Acts Too Often

Amy Hamm

A new law in Belgium celebrated by activists for providing a “labour contract” to prostitutes will also enable their pimps to punish them with a government mediator if they refuse sex more than 10 times in a six-month period. The Belgian Parliament voted for the law on May 3, with 93 in favor, zero opposed, and 33 abstentions.  

The legislation is being touted as a win by UTSOPI, the Belgium Union of Sex Workers, which had lobbied extensively for the legislation. The law outlines that prostitutes will receive health insurance, a pension, maternity and holiday leave, and unemployment benefits. Their pimps will be forced to provide them with a “safety button” to use for emergencies.

Their website claims that the law “is a historic step in the battle for sex workers’ rights” and will create a “respectful, fair relationship” between prostitutes and their pimps, with UTSOPI spokesperson Daan Bauwens telling media that he believes “Belgium is really demonstrating that it aims to protect sex workers, regardless of any moral judgements about the profession people may have.”

Prostitutes are to be granted “rights” to refuse sexual acts, stop sexual acts, perform sexual acts in the manner they prefer, and refuse to sit behind Amsterdam-style windows (public facing windows where prostitutes are on display). However, should a prostitute use these “rights” 10 times within six months, their pimp can then call on a government mediator to intervene.

All pimps must have a registered office and apply to the Belgian government for approval to offer contracts to prostitutes. The contracts will be disguised as hotel-restaurant-café (HoReCa) contracts so that prostitutes can remain anonymous.

Andrea Heinz, a prostitution abolition advocate, called out the new legislation on X (formerly Twitter).

“There is little chance this will (actually) favour women. Under legalization/full decrim, pimps become ‘managers’ with the backing of the state to further entrench and maintain their power. Pimps see women they sell as products, not people deserving of full dignity & respect.”

Outside the realm of so-called “sex work” activism, social media users have expressed horror at the new law.

“So the [government] helps pimps to coerce sex, what a disgusting idea,” posted X user @Bob16747466.

Share this Article


Leave a Reply

Latest News