CEDAW Report Netherlands: Unfinished Business - Women’s Rights in The Netherlands

NSWP members, including TAMPEP, SOA Aids Nederland and PROUD, contributed to this shadow report by Dutch NGOs and CSOs submitted to the 65th CEDAW session. This shadow report documents a wide range human rights violations affecting women in the Netherlands, including transgender sex workers.

The report expresses concern relating to compulsory registration of sex workers by municipalities, an increase in the legal age for engaging in sex work, and indirect discrimination against migrant sex workers in migration laws. It also discusses how new Dutch legal regulation of sex work would make it virtually impossible for independent sex workers to work legally and how anti-trafficking rhetoric has increased stigma and discrimination against sex workers, including discrimination by financial institutions, landlords, and public services.

The shadow report led the CEDAW committee to recognise the harms of compulsory registration, and ‘recommend[ed] that the state party…[e]nsure...municipal authorities are closely monitored to…[and] do not engage in illegal registration of women in prostitution.’

Sections of particular interest to sex workers include:

  • Reduced access to effective remedies
  • Bill on regulating and combating abuses in the sex industry
  • Freedom of sex workers to choose their own way of organizing their work
  • Indirect discrimination against female labour migrants
  • Improvement of the labor and social positions of sex workers
  • Mandatory registration of sex workers?
  • Prostitution Bill will compel sex workers to work for a third party
  • Gender-bias in policies on labour migration

Their submission is useful for sex workers and national-level CEDAW networks looking to integrate sex worker voices into collective civil society submissions. It is also useful for those interested in learning more about sex work in the Netherlands and the human rights abuses arising from legal regulation of the sex industry.

You can download this 19 page PDF above. This resource is available in English.