Expatica news

Clients of illegal Antwerp prostitutes face fines

14 October 2005

BRUSSELS — Antwerp Mayor Patrick Janssens has proposed fining the clients of illegal street prostitutes in a bid to curb the city’s sex trade.

Clients of street prostitutes in the Atheneum city district will risk a fine of up to EUR 250 from November in what is being described as a precedent for Belgium.

In combination with a street ban on the prostitutes, the Antwerp Council wants to put an end to the city’s street sex trade, newspaper ‘De Morgen’ reported on Friday.

A prostitute received the city’s first street ban last week. A further 16 women in the Atheneum district were issued with a final warning.

However, city mayor Janssens wants to go a step further and will request the council enact a new law allowing fines to be imposed on the prostitutes’ clients.

“We don’t want to only crackdown on the weakest group; that is not fair,” he said.

This is not only because the clients take advantage of the often heroin-addicted women, but because they cause street disturbances also.

Janssens said it will be easy to identify the clients by their behaviour: “He approaches the women, picks them up in a car. We trust the expertise of the police to pinpoint the clients”.

He continued: “They can also be caught in the act, than there is absolutely no discussion possible”.

The mayor hopes the fines will not only be a repressive policy, but also serve as a preventative warning.

The new law can only be imposed on clients who pick up prostitutes on public roads. No fines will be imposed on sex trade clients in the three streets in the Schipperskwartier city district where street prostitution is officially tolerated.

Clients of the window prostitutes will not be fined.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news