Taxing Prostitutes (2001): The Dutch are well known for their liberal stance on issues such as sex and drugs. Now, they have gone one step further, by implementing a new law to make prostitutes pay taxes.
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For the past year, women who work in Dutch brothels are treated like any other workers – they now have health insurance, tax numbers and holiday entitlement. Many welcome the new law, which gives the authorities a way of regulating the industry. But only those from the EU stand to benefit; Holland’s many Eastern European prostitutes are not covered by the legislation. Even so, many in the industry object to the new laws: “Legalisation is a disaster,” says Jan Bik, owner of seven brothels. “Holland has said that the goal of legalisation is to improve control and safety, but it’s just sent everything further into the hands of the Mafia.” Many of the prostitutes feel the same way, preferring to work illegally in order to preserve the freedom that goes with anonymity. But others feel that this legislation will help to improve the conditions of these women and combat the prejudice they experience within society.
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