This comes after the country‚Äôs Health Minister Hugo de Jonge announced last week, that other ‚Äúcontact professions‚ÄĚ such as hairdressers, beauty salons and masseurs would be allowed to reopen from Wednesday. However, the Health Minister specifically excluded sex workers from reopening, arguing that the very nature of their profession requires close proximity of individuals that cannot be safe during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The decision by the Dutch government to allow certain people to return to work in what it termed a¬†‚Äúrisky relaxation strategy‚ÄĚ,¬†was made even though infection numbers have started to edge higher recently.
Unsurprisingly, the sex workers were not happy with the Minister‚Äôs decision to bar them from working saying that it was discriminatory. They argued that just like everyone else, they also have bills to pay.
Some protestors were holding signs saying that:¬†‚ÄúBlow jobs are real jobs,‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúSe_x Work Is Work‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúSe_x work: Yes. Stigma: No‚ÄĚ.
Some of the protestors also argued that they should be allowed to return to work because they can still do their jobs while maintaining social distancing. They argued that they can maintain the 5-feet (1,5-metres) distance between themselves and their clients.
One sex worker who identified herself as Princess Patricia¬†said,
‚ÄúI‚Äôm an S&M mistress. It‚Äôs no problem at all to keep the 1.5-meter distance. I can lock them up in a cage, stay far away from them, (I can) even implement COVID rules, we can play doctor, I can put them on a dog leash.
‚ÄúEverything is possible, I have a very long whip. So no risk at all.‚ÄĚ
A woman who uses the name Moira Mona said she is a dominatrix and can work further from her clients than a hairdresser.
‚ÄúI can insult people from a distance and I have whips that are longer than scissors for cutting bangs. So I‚Äôll be fine,‚ÄĚ she said.
Another sex worker, Moira Mona, said could carry out her work and be COVID safe:
‚ÄúI‚Äôm a dominatrix, I don‚Äôt even have to lay a finger on him to do something nice. You can get really creative. I hope it speaks to the imagination.‚ÄĚ
The protests come amid growing lockdown fatigue not only in the Netherlands but across the European Union, where governments are still attempting to rein in new infections, while slowly ramping up the pace of vaccinations.
Prostitution has been recognized as an official legal profession in the Netherlands since 1988. While estimates regarding the total number of prostitutes vary, most sources place this number between 15,000 and 30,000.
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