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Starting as a self-employed sex worker in the Netherlands

This information is provided by:Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVKNetherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVKNederlandse versie

Prostitution is a legal profession the Netherlands. If you are 18 years of age or older, you are allowed to work as a self-employed professional in prostitution. If you work as a self-employed professional, you may be considered an entrepreneur. Find out what the rules and regulations are for working in prostitution.

Forced prostitution

Forced prostitution is illegal in the Netherlands and is punishable as an offence. Does your client know or suspect you are forced into prostitution or that you are a victim of human trafficking? Your client is punishable as well. You can read more about exploitation, your rights and how to get help in the brochure ‘Prostitution and exploitation’ (in Dutch).

What conditions do I need to fulfil to work as a prostitute in the Netherlands?

If you are 18 years of age or older, you are allowed to work as a sex worker in the Netherlands. However, in most cities the legal minimum age to work in prostitution has been raised to 21 years. Make sure to check with your municipality in advance. If you come from a non-EU country, you must hold a valid Dutch residence permit with the status ‘freelance work permitted’. On our page Moving to the Netherlands as an entrepreneur or self-employed professional, you can find more information about specific conditions that may apply to you.

Do I have to register with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce?

If you intend to make an income of your service as a sex worker, you may be considered an entrepreneur. Check whether this applies to you. As an entrepreneur you must register with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel, KVK) and pay taxes to the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst). It is therefore advisable to reserve some money in advance. As an entrepreneur you may be eligible for tax benefits, such as the entrepreneur allowance (ondernemersaftrek).

Checklist: Starting as a self-employed sex worker

Every entrepreneur who intends to start a business in the Netherlands must arrange a number of things. When starting as a self-employed sex worker, you have to take the following steps into account.

1. Prepare you registration with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce

You can fill out an online registration form prior to your registration with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce. You must fill out your private address and business address. If you work from home, you can register your private address as your business address. You also need a citizen service number and a trade name.

2. Register with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce

After you have completed the registration form, you can schedule an online appointment to finish up your registration. Do not forget to bring your ID-card. The registration fee is 50 euros. The KVK will pass on your details to the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. Within two weeks you will receive your VAT identification number and VAT number from the Tax and Customs Administration by post.

3. Check whether you need a permit

When you start working as a self-employed prostitute, you may need to apply for a sex business permit. Your municipality determines where you are allowed to work. Make sure to check if you need a permit with your municipality.

Note: the new Regulation of Sex Work Act (Wrs) will make it obligatory for all sex workers and sex businesses to get a sex work permit. It is not yet certain when this regulation will take effect.

4. Pay VAT and income tax

You are required to pay income tax over your income. You must also pay VAT (turnover tax, BTW). If you do not make enough money, you may be eligible for the Small Business Scheme (kleineondernemersregeling, KOR). However, you must meet the 4 conditions.

5. Keep your business records

If you have a business in the Netherlands, you are legally obliged to keep records and to retain them for at least 7 years. Make sure your records meet all the conditions. For instance, you must be able to show how much tax you need to pay or have to receive back.

6. Choosing your workplace

As a sex worker, you can work in different places. For example, you may choose to work from home, a brothel, clubs, private houses or the streets.

Do you want to quit working in prostitution?

Most municipalities offer special ‘exit-programmes’ in which several organisations collaborate to provide help. During an intake interview, you set goals together with your supervisor. These goals may include finding a job or learning how to keep better track of money matters. You are required to actively participate.

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