Swimming against the tide: Decriminalization of sex work in Belgium

Development Research Seminar with Daan Bauwens
Tuesday 30 May 2023, 16:00 - 18:00
Spoken Language
Aula A
International Institute of Social Studies
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Please contact Eveline Deutman for more information about this seminar.

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Daan Bauwens

In this Development Research Seminar, Daan Bauwens talks about Belgium's recent law change enabling sex workers to carry out their work freely.

While the regulation of sex work has become increasingly repressive in many European countries, Belgium swims against the tide. A year ago, the Belgian parliament approved that prostitution will be removed from criminal law, enabling sex workers to carry out their work freely.

This new environment makes the screening of clients and the fight against exploitation and violence easier. The sex workers' collective Utsopi has been fighting for the decriminalization of sex work in Belgium since 2015.

In this seminar, Utsopi’s director Daan Bauwens traces the collective’s campaign for sex work decriminalization – and highlights what the Netherlands can learn from its neighbour in this regard.

About Daan Bauwens

Daan Bauwens began his career as a journalist for TV and print media in Belgium and abroad.

During a brief transit in New York, he took classes at Columbia University with anthropologist Carole Vance, known internationally for her pioneering work on sexuality and human rights. He then became the head of political advocacy and community mobiliser at the Belgian sex workers' union Utsopi, where he has been at the helm since late 2021

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The Development Research seminars present cutting-edge research on development studies by noted scholars from around the world. The Series aims to stimulate critical discussion about contemporary development issues.

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