Saint-Josse will allow sex work again, except on Sundays

Saint-Josse will allow sex work again, except on Sundays
Credit: Belga

The Brussels' municipality of Saint-Josse-ten-Noode has decided on a series of conditions under which sex workers will be allowed to start working again from July.

Even though the municipality had previously stated it would prohibit sex work until at least 1 July, it remained unclear when and under what conditions Saint-Josse would allow sex workers to resume their activities.

"The sooner they can restart, the better of course, but 1 July is still okay," Maxime Maes of UTSOPI, a union for sex workers in Brussels, told The Brussels Times.

Brothels can open during the day, but they have to close at night, from 1:00 AM to 7:00 AM. Additionally, they have to stay closed during the day on Sundays "to respect the family-friendly and residential vocation of the neighbourhood," according to the municipality. Brothels can only open from 6:00 PM.

"The closing on Sundays is a compromise. Most sex workers would like to be able to keep working on Sunday, and decide their day off. But I think it is a good compromise," Maes added.

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All sex workers have to comply with the protocol that the sector proposed, which was approved by the Group of Experts for the Exit Strategy (GEES).

This means, among other things, that both the client and the sex worker have to wear a face mask, except during oral sex. Bedsheets have to be changed systematically after each client, unless polyurethane sheets are used, which then have to be disinfected after each client.

In Schaerbeek, sex work has been allowed again since 15 June.

Mayor Emir Kir told Bruzz that he "regrets that clear measures are lacking because of the competent authorities," and that "now, we end up with different situations in neighbouring municipalities."

Additionally, UTSOPI is happy about the good communication between the sector and the municipality. "For 5 years, communication was really difficult, but now we will meet regularly to evaluate the situation in the district," Maes said, adding that this is an important step.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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