European Report – Sex and the Welfare State

1 12 2006


European Report:

Sex and the Welfare State

Jurgen Van Acker is 27 years old and severely handicapped. He cannot walk, talk, sit or eat, but mentally there is nothing wrong with him. With the help of his computer he can communicate. Recently he became a television celebrity in Belgium when he asked that the welfare office pay his prostitutes.

When Jurgen turned 18, his mother Frie Van Acker told him all about sex and asked whether he would like to have sex. Jurgen indicated “No.” One evening three years later, however, he wrote on his computer: “I want sex.” That same evening, Frie contacted a prostitute. Every month for the past six years prostitutes have come to the house for Jurgen. They charge 100 euros for half an hour. Jurgen finds one session a month inadequate. He wants sex at least once a week, but his mother cannot pay that much. Jurgen and his Mum are now demanding that the government subsidize the sex sessions, but the Fund for the Social Integration of the Handicapped only finances masturbation equipment, including vibrators and pumps, for the handicapped in Belgium, but not prostitutes.

The Fund cannot pay prostitutes, its chairman Gui Abrahams explains, because prostitution is illegal in Belgium. The authorities turn a blind eye to prostitution but feel that financing it would take matters too far. Moreover, in order to reimburse a service the fund needs official invoices, which prostitutes cannot provide. “Do not say that we are not trying to help,” the spokesman of the Fund stresses: “We reimburse masturbation equipment but we are not in a legal position to subsidise the use of prostitutes.”

“My son cannot masturbate, but he is entitled to have sex at least once week,” Frie Van Acker says. “Giving him a free masturbation set does not help. He cannot use it. As I am his mother I cannot assist him there. That would almost be incest.” Jurgen and his mother have gained the support of Dr. Bo Coolsaet, a well-known Belgian sexuologist. “The healthcare system provides for inflatable penis prostheses for men with erection problems. These cost up to 10,000 euros.” According to Dr. Coolsaet handicapped people are being discriminated if their sexual needs are not adressed. “In homes for the handicapped either nothing is done at all or, sometimes, nurses help patients. The Fund should call the prostitutes ‘sexual aides’ and finance them as such.”

Last month European prostitutes demonstrated in Brussels. The prostitutes, who prefer to call themselves “sex workers,” want European Union governments to legalize prostitution, end all restrictions on their profession and apply labour laws to their profession. According to the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE) “Sex work is work and a profession, sex workers are workers and must be recognized as such.” If prostitution is legalized, the government can start subsidizing it, which opens new opportunities for the welfare states in its care for all our needs, from the cradle to the grave.

Paul Belien is the editor of the Flemish quarterly Secessie and the editor-in-chief of The Brussels Journal. He is a columnist at the Flemish weekly Pallieterke and at the Flemish monthly Doorbraak and a regular contributor to the Flemish conservative monthly Nucleus, which he co-founded in 1990.


I Danmark har vi også haft en lignende sag hvor Torben Vegener Hansen tog kampen op mod staten vedr. “merbetalingen” og søgte dermed for muligheden for at få differencen dækket, mellem et besøg på klinik og escortbesøg i hjemmet.

Socialministeren truede med at ændre loven hvis Torben fik medhold.

Torben tabte sagen og straks derefter fik Københavns Borgerrepræsentation indført Københavner kodekset d 9 marts 2006.



Torben the Dane demands a very social serviceAlex Duval Smith in Aarhus
Sunday January 1, 2006
The Observer

Many people would agree with Torben Vegener Hansen’s views on sex. ‘It makes me feel good. It makes me more dynamic. Having sex is as important as food.’ But it is his insistence that sex is ‘a human right’ that has led him into a legal battle with his government.Vegener Hansen, 59, who has cerebral palsy, is fighting to force the Danish state to subsidise visits to his home by prostitutes in the same way they would pay for a meals-on-wheels service.

‘Denmark’s social law provides for me to be compensated for the expenses I incur because of my handicap,’ he said. ‘It should therefore cover my right to a sex life.’

Vegener Hansen, a former social worker, lives alone in an adapted one-bedroom flat. He travels about Aarhus city centre using an electric wheelchair. The local council pays for him to receive 37 hours’ practical help every week. His speech is impaired but he uses the phone and internet.

‘I need to have sex to feel like a normal human being,’ he says over coffee and biscuits. ‘I have a girlfriend at the moment so I do not need to see prostitutes. But if I didn’t have Vivia I would want sex at least twice a month.’

Prostitution is legal in Denmark, so Vegener Hansen argues his local authority unfairly made a moral judgment when it rejected his application for financial support to bring prostitutes to his flat. If a social appeal board finds in his favour later this month, all Danish councils will have to obey the ruling.

Since 2001, Denmark’s social service guidelines on disability have stipulated that care staff in institutions must be prepared to help disabled people obtain sex. That includes accompanying them to a prostitute.

Arranging sex is part of the job for staff at the Hulegaarden residential home for mental disability near Copenhagen. Its director, Lars Nielsen, said: ‘We have many hours of discussion, in groups, before actually doing so. It is clear that there is no human being who is not also a sexual being. If we do not allow disabled people to have the experience of sex, we cannot expect them to build up their lives.

‘The social workers who accompany people to prostitutes receive their salary from Hulegaarden. In that respect, you can argue that Danish society is already paying for the practice.’

But Nielsen is uncomfortable about Vegener Hansen’s campaign because it affects two marginalised groups, prostitutes and disabled people. ‘Prostitution has been decriminalised since 1999. This has made life a lot safer for prostitutes and has taken most of them off the streets. But that could change. Decriminalisation remains controversial. Left-wing feminists are united with the religious right in their opposition to it. I think Vegener Hansen’s campaign is dangerous.’

Vegener Hansen’s 46-year-old girlfriend Vivia, who does not want to reveal her surname, opposes him. ‘I think it is important that the sex lives of disabled people be discussed, she said. ‘But I am against all forms of prostitution and think that, sometimes, you have to accept your destiny.’

Vegener Hansen has heard a wide range of arguments since he began his campaign. ‘One man wrote to the local newspaper and said I was just a horny guy. After that, a prostitute phoned me and said she would support me if I took my case to the European court.

‘The thing is, according to surveys, only about 15 per cent of men go to prostitutes. So it is not as though society will face financial ruin if I win. As disabled people, we are constantly told not to be passive and to fight for our needs. That is what I am doing.’



Torben V Hansen

Spastiker fra Århus midtpunkt i medieorkan

blkfade.gifSpastiker får nej til sex-hjælp 

Afslag: Samfundet vil ikke deltage ved prostitution


Københavns Borgerrepræsentation skriver således :

Københavns Kommune går foran i indsatsen mod prostitution

24. februar 2006

Prostitution skal begrænses og indsatsen over for prostitution skal styrkes. Det vedtog et flertal i Borgerrepræsentationen i går, da de bakkede op om Socialdemokraternes forslag. Med forslaget stoppes hjælpen til handicappede med at gå til prostituerede – formentligt som den første kommune i landet.


Københavns Kommune har taget et vigtigt skridt inden for indsatsen mod prostitution. Borgerrepræsentationen vedtog i går, at indsatsen mod prostitution skal styrkes ved:

  • At det forebyggende arbejde og den sociale indsats inden for prostitution skal undersøges.
  • At kommunens medarbejdere ikke længere skal hjælpe handicappede med at kontakte prostituerede.
  • At Socialministeriet opfordres til at ændre i ”Vejledning om seksualitet – uanset handicap”, så det ikke længere fremgår, at det er muligt for hjælpepersoner at tage kontakt til prostituerede på vegne at den person, de er hjælpeperson for.


Thor Grønlykke, socialordfører for Socialdemokraterne, udtaler, ”Jeg er glad for, at Borgerrepræsentationen bakkede op om vores forslag. Det er en meget vigtig sag. Vi må holde op med kun at bekæmpe prostitution halvhjertet”.


Socialdemokraterne mener ikke, at det er nok at hjælpe de prostituerede, mens de er i prostitution. Der bør fokuseres på at begrænse prostitution. Derved begrænses antallet af kvinder, der får ødelagt deres seksualitet, helbred og sociale situation.


Thor Grønlykke udtaler, ”København kommer til at gå foran i indsatsen mod prostitution. Vi håber, at vi kan starte en ny debat i Danmark. En debat, der bl.a. skal handle om, at man ikke skal gå til prostituerede. Derfor er det heller ikke i orden, at kommunens medarbejdere bruger ressourcer på at kontakte prostituerede på vegne af andre”.


Flertallet i Borgerrepræsentationen har lagt an til at styrke indsatsen mod prostitution ved at markere, at det ikke skal accepteres, at man benytter prostituerede – uanset hvilken situation, man er i.


Det vil Socialdemokraterne arbejde videre med.


Yderligere information kan fås hos:

Socialdemokraterne, socialpolitisk ordfører Thor Buch Grønlykke, tlf. nr. 27601430.







26.gif Stop for reklamer for prostitution – (er også en del af københavner kodeks “pakken“)

Det er nu lykkedes at få fjernet sexannoncerne fra ”Copenhagen This Week”, som distribueres af Wonderful Copenhagen. Fra april vil annoncerne være væk, og indtil da er bladet fjernet fra Københavns Turistinformation. Det sker efter, at Socialdemokraterne kontaktede Wonderful Copenhagen for at få stoppet prostitutionsreklamerne.



26.gif Ingen reklame for prostitution i turistbrochurer


Det er nu lykkedes at få fjernet sexannoncerne fra ”Copenhagen This Week”, som distribueres af Wonderful Copenhagen. Fra april vil annoncerne være væk, og indtil da er bladet fjernet fra Københavns Turistinformation. Det sker efter, at Socialdemokraterne kontaktede Wonderful Copenhagen for at få stoppet prostitutionsreklamerne.



Ligeledes anbefaler Københavner kodekset kommunens 42.000 ansatte at holde sig fra prostituerede..

læs hvad HK siger:


26.gif HKere: Hold nallerne fra vores sexliv

HKs medlemmer vil have deres sexliv i fred. Arbejdsgiverne skal overhovedet ikke blande sig i, om de går til prostituerede i fritiden.





Københavns Borgerrepræsentations kampagne mod prostituerede og kunder hedder :


København mod prostitution

København mod prostitution - kampagne


Borgerrepræsentationen har vedtaget et københavnerkodeks, der opfordrer alle ansatte og politikere i kommunen til at afholde sig fra at købe sex hos prostituerede.
Kodekset opfordrer samtidig til, at ansatte og politikere undlader at benytte hoteller, der formidler kontakt til prostituerede, samt at turistorganisationer undlader at reklamere for escort, stripklubber og bordeller.

Se pressemeddelelsen for:

København mod prostitution

kampagne plakatten som er ophængt rundt omkring i kbh ser således ud:

København mod prostitution - plakat







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