Prostitutes become entrepreneurs

POSTED: 01/29/16 5:34 PM

St. Maarten News: – Today reported already on January 9, after a presentation by the Public Prosecutor’s Office at the Inter-Parliamentary Kingdom Consultation (Ipko) that the ministry of justice would not issue any more permits for prostitutes to local brothels. In that sense, reports about a ban on these permits are nothing new. Because there are two types of permits involved – residence and work permits – this newspaper asked a clarification in Wednesday from Minister Emil Lee (Public Health, Social Development and Labor).

Work permits for prostitutes are issued under the euphemistic moniker of animeermeisje (exotic dancer). “My ministry does not issue those work permits anymore,” Minister Lee said. “I understood that the solution is that they would go to economic affairs to get a different economic business license, and not a work permit. For the moment, my ministry is not issuing anymore work permits, based on that court order. The permits will no longer be issued to the establishments but to the women.”

It is unclear to which court order the minister referred. In the Casablanca investigation into human trafficking and exploitation there is no ruling yet because the case still has to go to court. The reference is therefore likely to the Bada Bing-case, whereby club-manager Krijn van de Brug was sentenced to a 9-month condition prison sentence for trafficking in women and exploitation.

The court used in its March 2015 ruling as its criterion for exploitation “the average grown-up prostitute who determines herself where, when, with whom and under which circumstances she works.”

If this is not the case, there is exploitation. Furthermore, recruiting women abroad, advancing the costs for their work permits and airline tickets and then putting them to work in prostitution amounts to human trafficking according to international law.

Based on these considerations, Justice Minister Richard Gibson (who was this week relieved from the post after Edson Kirindongo was sworn in) immediately put a stop to the issuance of any more permits.

“The issue is quite simple in terms of which policy we should apply,” Gibson said. “The court has rendered a decision based on international law which means that the government could be held as a conspirator in committing the crime of human slavery. I immediately issued the instruction not to give any more residency permits upon request to the clubs.”

The minister held meetings with the ministry of public health, social development and labor to request that no more work permits be issued either.

“The permits will not be issued to an entrepreneur who will have to file for an independent entrepreneur-license from the department of economic affairs,” Gibson said. “That entrepreneur can then establish her business with the clubs.”

The minister emphasized that the policy is not temporary, but permanent. “Methods are worked out further to come to a better regulated way to have the industry operate, different to how it operated before.”

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