Several sex workers from the Brussels North Quarter in Saint-Josse-ten-Node are filing a complaint against their landlords for the high rent prices during the coronavirus crisis, sex worker union UTSOPI announced on Thursday.
The sex workers themselves had been summoned to court earlier, for not paying their rent. However, the workers are now stating that the landlords are taking advantage of their difficult financial situation.
“Since the beginning of the health crisis, sex work has not been allowed nine out of twelve months,” a spokesperson for UTSOPI told The Brussels Times. “Many sex workers ran out of income and were therefore unable to pay their rent.”
Since September 2020, several owners of window brothels started taking the workers to court to demand the rent money that they had not paid yet.
“In general, this is higher than €1,000 per month, but sometimes it goes up to €2,000 or even €3,000,” UTSOPI said, “for a ground floor of some 30 square metres, decaying or even completely uninhabitable.”
The is a first, according to UTSOPI. “If these sex workers are proven right, it will set an important precedent for the whole sector Belgium.”
Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, and the subsequent prostitution ban, the majority of sex workers behind the windows in the North Quarter are living in a precarious situation, and many are not entitled to benefits.
The Brussels Times