What is it
WRS stands for Wet regulering Sekswerk, the Sex Work Regulation Act.
The WRS is basically anti-prostitution legislation, but because banning is a step too far, it goes in smaller steps.
A choice has been made for a anti-trafficking frame, which many ignorant politicians and journalists fall for, because saving vulnerable people is something no one can be against.
In short, it is a moral law wrapped in a convenient frame. And everyone may be entitled to their own morals, but above all keep them out of the law.
What it can mean for a sex worker
Core to the WRS is:
- Sex workers must be over 21.
- Sex workers must attend a licensing interview with a city official who determines whether a person is self-sufficient.
- If permitted, the sex worker is registered in a central database.
- If rejected, the sex worker is also registered in the central database.
- Sex workers who fail to register could face a very large fine (unless this is removed from the bill).
- Customers, operators and facilitators can use a hit/no hit system to verify that the number provided by a sex worker belongs to a valid license, and if they do engage with the sex worker they can be fined.
Dmv registration should be the desired effect:
- Volunteer sex workers register, can then work in licensed businesses and advertise using their registration number.
- Forced sex workers do not pass the registration (and are then "saved" because they cannot work or advertise). If they do work then they get a very high fine (unless this fine is removed from the bill) and their clients can also be fined.
The likely effect of registration will be:
- sex worker, no matter how legal and voluntary, do not want to be in a government risky and stigmatizing database, and therefore become illegal
- sex worker really understand how to present themselves to the municipality, if they would be forced at all, then suddenly they are "licensed" and have a stamp of approval from the government.
- The damage the law will do to the industry is (in Swedish's view) a deliberate effect to then go one step further in completely criminalizing the industry.
In Germany, a similar law was introduced and 83% of sex workers refused to register, and thus have suddenly become illegal.
Registration in a special database has broadly 3 objections:
- It is an ineffective tool, in addition to increasing insecurity for those who cannot or will not register.
- It is immoral to register a stigmatized group. The reasoning that there are more professions with licenses does not apply to sex work, as long as the work is not normalized. Moreover, these kinds of licenses are meant to show that you have a degree.
- A database follows the rule that if it can leak, it will leak, because every computer system contains weaknesses, especially human ones.
That's why we call the WRS not the Sex Work Regulation Act but the Sex Work Repression Act
What can you do
You can join a sex work organization and stand strong together against the WRS.
If the WRS is through, there is only one choice for you, do you get registered or not? What consequences might that have? How do you stand on it?
On the website of Sex Work Expertise there is much to read about the WRS.