Belgium decriminalizes sex work

March 31, 2022

A red umbrella lying in sand

A message from MoveUP Vice-President Rysa Kronebusch

Two weeks ago on March 17, Belgium became officially the first country in Europe to decriminalize sex work.

They have done so by removing sex work from its penal code.

I happened to learn of this announcement today (March 31) as I sit in Ottawa awaiting the start of this year’s Progress Summit. It was brought to my attention by our president, David Black, who is also taking part in the event.

The focus of this year’s summit is on ‘just transition’ and the many facets of what that term means. I can’t help but think that for sex workers in Belgium, ‘just transition’ could mean that for the first time they are now seen, and that their work is considered work.

I hope we all take a moment to reflect on how this decision impacts those workers. When it comes to ‘just transition’ the focus is on ensuring workers are heard and understood. Belgium has taken a big step towards protecting sex workers from violence, discrimination, and exploitation.

You can learn more about this historic decriminalization by clicking here.

Learn more about MoveUP’s campaign here.