The social rights of sex workers will soon be better protected in Belgium, Belga News Agency reports. The Council of Ministers has approved a draft law formalising their employment status and protection.
The Minister of Labour, Pierre-Yves Dermagne (PS), recalled on Friday that it is forbidden to hire someone under an employment contract to provide sexual services. Such a contract would be in contradiction with the penal code.
In order to circumvent this prohibition, employment contracts are often concluded with reference to other types of activities (catering, massage etc).
The protection that this employment contract should theoretically offer to the sex worker concerned is however too often illusory. As the actual purpose of the employment contract is intentionally misleading, the law has usually until now considered it to be invalid. The consequence of the nullity of the contract is that the contract is presumed never to have existed, and the worker can therefore not claim any rights or protection.
The preliminary draft law provides aims to reverse this policy of invalidating contracts in such contexts, thereby restoring the rights of the sex workers. The objective is to fight against the exploitation of these workers, Minister Dermagne explained.
The draft law still has to go through the legislative process in the House of Representatives in Belgium before it becomes official.