PHILIPSBURG—Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour Emil Lee announced on Wednesday that adjustments to the old work permit policy for adult entertainers were made to prevent any abuse and to ensure that Government does not facilitate human trafficking.
He also said the policy would serve until the Ministries of Justice, and of Tourism, Economic Affairs and Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) developed their permanent policy for the adult entertainers. Due to a memo received from the Prosecutor’s Office earlier this year, the Council of Ministers agreed that two Ministries would develop and present a new policy for commercial sex workers.
The court ruled that the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour VSA needed to accept requests for adult entertainers and process them within 2-3 weeks. Based on a ruling, the VSA Ministry, in consultation with legal advisors and representatives of the adult entertainers industry, developed an interim policy, which was approved by the Council Of Ministers last week.
Minister Lee also clarified that the VSA Ministry is only allowed to issue work permits, and in this case only issues permits for exotic dancers and “animeermeisjes” (adult entertainment girls).
“We cannot issue permits for sex workers. If we grant permits for sex workers, we would be creating an employer and employee relationship between the company and the women to be obligated to perform sexual acts, and that is something that Government cannot facilitate,” he said.
Changes to the policy include:
The brothel owner is not allowed to provide money/loans to the adult entertainment worker prior to her/his arrival in St. Maarten, with the aim to develop financial dependency that would make her/him vulnerable to perform work that he/she does not want to do.
The adult entertainment worker is liable for, insofar as applicable, the payment of social premiums and wage tax.
The adult entertainment worker cannot and shall not be forced to perform sexual acts against his/her own free will.
The adult entertainment worker has the right to terminate his/her agreement with the brothel/strip club owner at any time, and must be free to leave the establishment of his/her own free will.
The adult entertainment worker must remain in possession of his/her passport and other personal identification and travel documents during his/her stay.
“All of this is aimed towards protecting the human rights of all individuals that are coming to our island, as well as to regulating the industry in a way that is mutually beneficial to all stakeholders,” concluded Minister Lee.
The Daily Herald asked Lee how the VSA Ministry would ensure that the rights of the worker are not violated. He responded by reiterating that his ministry just gave out the permits, but if the workers had issues, they were free to file a complaint at the Labour Department just as any other employee.
Source: Daily Herald
Interim work permits for adult entertainers