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InternationalBelgium Becomes First Country to Formally Recognize Sex Work as Legitimate Profession

Belgium Becomes First Country to Formally Recognize Sex Work as Legitimate Profession


In a groundbreaking decision, Belgium has become the first country in the to pass a labor law providing formal job protections and benefits to sex workers. The new legislation, approved last week by the Belgian Parliament with overwhelming support, will grant sex workers rights similar to other professions, including access to insurance, pensions, paid vacations and critical supports like maternity leave.

Under current job protections, sex workers operating legally in Belgium were considered self-employed contractors without employee benefits or workplace safeguards. The new law aims to rectify this by establishing an official employment relationship between sex workers and organizations facilitating their work, often called ‘pimps'. This will obligate facilitators to respect basic rights of workers, such as the ability to refuse clients or end encounters at any time. It also ensures anonymity for sex workers seeking alternate careers.

Supporters laud Belgium's move as a victory for labor rights and public health. By bringing the industry into the regulated job market, advocates say workers will feel empowered to report exploitation or access social services without fear. Sex work unions already consider the protections “extremely important” in aiming to counter stigma and prioritize health and safety. Other European nations have been hesitant to decriminalize the trade fully, and Belgium's model may inspire bolder reforms. If implemented well, its pioneering law could set a global precedent for respecting sex workers as valid members of the workforce.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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