Questions from sex workers - social
I am a sex worker and want to work officially. How do I go about this?
To legally work in Belgium, you need to check whether you meet the requirements. Belgian nationals (those with a Belgian ID-card) and EU citizens need a valid identity card to start as a self-employed professional or to set-up an independent business.
You can register as self-employed if you want to make your sex work official. You can choose between the following two options.
Self-employed: full-time or main occupation. Sex work is your only source of income. You are your own boss and are not affiliated with an employer through an employment contract.
You can also combine sex work with a salaried job. In that case you are self-employed in a secondary occupation. As a self-employed person, you must register with the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises and will be assigned a NACE code. For sex work, there is no specific NACE code, but you can use NACE code 96099 – “other personal services”. As soon as you have taken this step, you need to put a few other things in order, such as finding an accountant, joining a social insurance fund for the self-employed and registering at a company counter. More information can be found via this link. We are happy to assist you in this matter.
I am an EU citizen working in Belgium and I want to apply for a Belgian identity card. How do I do that?
As an EU citizen you have the right to stay in Belgium for longer than 3 months if you have a job, either with an employment contract or registered as self-employed. To obtain a residence card, you must be able to provide proof of your employment or self-employment.
Within 3 months of arrival in Belgium, you must register with your city or municipality and apply for your residence card. You will receive an 'Appendix 19'. Soon afterwards, your local policeman/woman will visit you at the address you submitted to check if you really live there. You will be registered in the Aliens Register. Subsequently, the Immigration Office will decide whether your application has been approved. If that is the case, you will receive an E card. You can contact us and together we will investigate your situation.
I have received letters, but I do not understand what they are about. Can you help me?
Yes, our team of social workers will be happy to help you with these letters. It is not a good idea to leave letters unopened. Please contact us without delay. We will be happy to help you.
I am new to sex work. What should I take into account?
As a sex worker, you need to consider a lot of things. What sector do you want to work in? Do you want to work for yourself? How do you deal with customers? What services do you offer? It is important to consider these issues before starting. Our social workers will try to give adequate answers to all your questions. Please contact us to discuss your situation.
I feel depressed.
Do you have gloomy thoughts? Are you going through hard times? We all go through difficult times at some point. An unexpected event or drastic change can cause stress or anxiety. Sometimes you feel uncomfortable in your own skin for no specific reason. Some of us can overcome these problems, but a lot of people cannot do it on their own. If you need help, you can ask those close to you, a specialist or an aid worker to lend support. You can also call on Violett who will offer not only support but also a listening ear. We gained a lot of experience in dealing with people active in the sex work sector. You can talk freely and tell your story in the greatest confidence. We will never judge you. Do not hesitate to contact us. We are happy to help.
I keep my life as a sex worker a secret from my family and friends. How do I deal with this?
Sex work remains a big taboo and many sex workers do not tell anyone about their job. Many find it very hard to live with their secret and the fear of one day being exposed. They lead “a double life” as it were. Violett's aid workers will never judge you. We are at your disposal, if you feel the need to talk about your life as a sex worker. You can share with us the fun and not so fun aspects of your job. We are bound by professional secrecy which means that your story goes no further. Our services are anonymous and discreet. Need to talk? Please contact us.
I must perform oral sex without a condom. I do not want to do this. What are my options? I must perform sex work without a condom. I do no want to work in this way. What can I do?
As a sex worker, you decide for yourself what you offer the customers and more importantly what you do not want to do. If you work in a bar or private house and your boss asks you to perform a blow job or to have sex without a condom, you have every right to refuse and say no. If you do not agree with what they make you do, you may be better off looking for another job. Blow jobs and sexual acts without a condom involve health risks and may give you an STI. It is important that you feel comfortable in your work environment and safe working practices are an important part of this.
If you experience pressure from the people in your workplace and feel insecure, please talk to us about it.
Am I entitled to a replacement income as a sex worker?
Are you no longer (temporarily unable) able to work as a sex worker? Are you entitled to a replacement income such as unemployment benefit? Cannot work because of illness? Are you entitled to sickness benefit? Depending on your situation, our social team can help you figure out what you are entitled to. Contact us.
Questions from sex workers - medical
Can the medical team visit my workplace?
We also work remotely. Violett visits a lot of private, erotic massage parlours, windows, clubs, ... in Flanders.
We do not stop by your workplace? Call us or email us, and we will see what can be arranged. Violett is present in Antwerpen and Hasselt.
How do I make an appointment to see a doctor or nurse?
There are several ways to make an appointment: by e-mail, Whatsapp and phone. Tests are carried out in Antwerp, Gent and Hasselt.
I have medical and/or psychological complaints that have nothing to do with sex work. Can I see a Violett doctor for these problems?
Our medical and psychosocial support mainly focuses on sex work, but our doctors and nurses will of course try to help you with all other complaints and / or problems. We may not be able to provide an answer to every question or complaint, but once we have discussed the matter with you, we can refer you to other people or organisations that can help you, such as a general practitioner for the follow-up and treatment of high blood pressure or a dentist for the treatment of an abscess... We always try to work in close cooperation with you to find a suitable solution to your problem. See also FAQ "Can I contact Violett if I don’t have a GP?"
Can I contact Violett if I do not have a GP?
Our doctors are happy to help you. Violett does not normally offer general medicine consultations but that does not mean we cannot help you with finding a GP in your area for example. Some physical problems need follow-up by a GP. You should also contact a GP if you need specific medication because a number of treatments are not prescribed by our doctors.
What is an STI?
STIs are sexually transmitted infections:
- STIs are in most cases caused by a virus or bacteria but can also be caused by a parasite or another organism.
- STIs are transmitted through unsafe sexual contact.
- STI viruses and bacteria are transmitted through the mucous membrane of the vagina, penis, mouth, throat and anus or the pre-fluid, sperm and blood.
- STIs do not always cause complaints but are contagious even without clear symptoms. They may have a long-term effect on your life.
More information about STIs, the different types, testing, treatment, working when contaminated with an STI, etc., can be found by clicking here
The condom broke. What now? Should I be worried?
There is always a risk that a condom breaks or splits when you have vaginal, oral or any other type of sex. A split condom carries the risk of contracting an STI. If sperm or pre-fluid has entered your body, it is important to remove all residue as gently as possible – for example by spitting or squeezing it out.
Make sure not to remove the sperm with your hands or any other object. At all times, avoid the use of chemical products in your vagina, anus or mouth as these can damage the mucous membranes, causing lesions. If you do not use contraception, you also put yourself at risk of an unwanted pregnancy.
More information about what to do in case of a broken condom and further information about the safe and proper use of a condom can be found on our website
Contact us to get tested for STIs when your condom broke during sex!
What can I ask the Violett doctors and nurses? What do they do?
You can contact our doctors and nurses for all your medical questions and/ or complaints related to sex work. Did you experience a ripped condom, had unsafe sex? Do you have questions about the risks of sex work, contraception, PEP or PREP, ... our doctors and nurses will always help you as best they can. Medical assistance can either be given during a consultation or at your workplace/ at home. We carry out STI screening and treatment, cervical smears, vaccinations, administer the injection pill, prescribe contraception, provide information, referrals, etc.
You can make an appointment with the doctor or nurse to look into the medical part of your problems. They may refer you to our social team for other matters.
Feel free to take a look at our website for more information by clicking here
Can I get an STI from giving/receiving a blow job without a condom?
If you give or receive a blow job without a condom, you may contract an STI. Take into account the following tips:
If you get pre-fluid or sperm in your mouth, try to spit it out right away. Rinse your mouth with water if necessary. Make sure you do not swallow anything or gargle. The mucous membrane in the throat is very thin and germs can pass through easily. Try not to brush or floss your teeth immediately after the sex act to avoid causing small lesions. Abstain from eating for an hour. More information about the use of condoms can be found on our website via this link
How do I get my test results?
Because we highly value discretion and anonymity, we always discuss the test results with you, in your workplace, during a consultation or over the phone. If you would like to receive your results by e-mail, contact us by telephone first. We try not to send sensitive information, such as medical results, through unsafe channels such as Whatsapp, etc.
Questions from customers
I visited a sex worker and I feel guilty.
Maybe you secretly visited a sex worker and paid for sex. You may feel guilty about this. Your family and friends do not understand why you did it. Remember, you are not alone in this experience. There may be many reasons why you did what you did. Maybe you are looking for intimacy or have a sexual fantasy. No one has the right to judge you. Do you need advice on what to do? Contact Violett for further advice.
Where can I get tested for STIs?
Violett does not test customers of sex workers but our aid workers can advise and refer you.
You can ask your GP for an STI screening. If you do not like to consult your GP for this type of problem, you can contact the Helpcenter of the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp (anonymously).
We advise customers of sex workers to take the test once a year. Ask the nurse to take a blood (HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B and C), and urine sample (gonorrhea and chlamydia) and screen your throat and anus if possible for gonorrhea and chlamydia.
I saw a sex worker and am concerned about his/her situation.
You can contact Violett to express your concerns. We will listen to your story and give you advice. Do you suspect that the sex worker is a victim of human trafficking or exploitation? A victim of human trafficking will rarely self-identify as a victim. They may be afraid or think you cannot help them. Or they may be indebted to the human trafficker and need every customer to help them pay off the debt.
As a customer, you may suspect that something is not right. Following signs may be an indication that the person is a victim of human trafficking: e.g. the sex worker seems anxious or unhappy, works at low prices, makes long hours, cannot refuse customers,... You can report these observations to the prosecutor's office or the police. Contact Violett for more information.
I had unsafe sex with a sex worker. Should I be worried?
Try to stay calm. If a condom broke or if you did not use a condom, there is a risk you have contracted an STI. Have you had sex with (trans) men or with (trans) women? Did you have oral or vaginal sex? Was there a high risk of HIV? If so, you should take PEP as soon as possible. Contact us for more information and on what to do next.
Can I get a blow job without a condom?
You run the risk of contracting an STI like chlamydia, gonorrhoea, or herpes if you have sex without a condom. We recommend that you always use a condom. If you decide not to, take an annual STI test at your GP or at the Helpcenter of the Institute of Tropical Medicine.
Questions from friends and family
Help, my daughter/son/girlfriend works in prostitution. How do I deal with this? Is the work dangerous? What am I supposed to say? How do I respond to this?
It is a good thing that your daughter/son/girlfriend has confided in you and it is normal that you have a few questions. We can reassure you and give you advice. Please contact us if you have questions/concerns.