Belgium's federal government is trying to find the right balance between the fight against human trafficking and the creation of a statute to regulate sex work, Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne told the House Committee on Wednesday.
Prepared Van Quickenborne and Secretary of State for Gender Equality Sarah Schlitz, and approved at first reading on 2 April, the text is currently being examined by the government before a second reading.
Associations for victims of human trafficking have been consulted as well as the sex workers' union. The draft seeks to bring prostitution out of the "grey zone" in which it currently finds itself in Belgium.
"People who engage in this activity are not criminals. It is important to create a framework in which these activities can take place in a safer and more transparent way," Van Quickenborne said in the Committee.
"To associate the authorisation of prostitution with trafficking in human beings is a shortcut that I cannot subscribe to," he said. "The situations encountered in prostitution are very diverse and cannot be categorised in such a simplistic way."
"However, it is clear that trafficking in human beings for sexual purposes must be fought," added Van Quickenborne.
He added that pimping would continue to be punished, and that he disputed the fact that only the criterion of an abnormal profit would be retained.
The Brussels Times