Non-discrimination in enjoyment of the right to health by the sex workers in the Netherlands

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Ivanenko, Kateryna
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By legalizing the brothels, the Dutch government was aiming to improve the position of sex workers by providing them with essential social protection and benefits. As a result of the new policy, this profession became equal to any other, therefore, there should be no difference in treatment between the sex workers and any other profession when it comes to enjoyment of human rights. This work establishes the impact of the prostitution policy of the Netherlands on the sex workers’ access to healthcare and non-discrimination in that sector. It is important to distinguish the notions of prostitution, trafficking and sexual exploitation, as voluntary sex work should not fall under the scope of trafficking or forced exploitation. This paper then looks at the international instruments regarding prostitution and the right to health, their importance and state obligations. In order to focus on the example of the Netherlands, first a brief historical introduction is given and then the current policy is discussed, which is later compared to the healthcare of sex workers before the brothels ban lift. Finally, the work provides legal background on non-discrimination in the field of healthcare and the factual data on the failure of sex workers to enjoy their right to health without discrimination.
Second semester University: Maastricht University
prostitution, discrimination, medical care, right to health, Netherlands