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[ 10. May 2005 ]

Remonstrative letter action against the visa ban for Romanian sexworkers

In February 2005 the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs banned the visas for Romanian sexworkers. Officially this was implemented at the request of the Romanian government. Romanian prostitutes to whom a visa has already been granted must now count on loosing their residence permit.

 

How you can support this action
Backgroundinformation: regulations for prostitution in Austria

Until now - like all the non-EU-migrants, who practise prostitution but don"t have another type of visa - they were given a visa for self-employed workers according to § 7 para. 4 Z 4 FrG to legally work as prostitutes.
This visa could be given to showdancers and prostitutes according to an enactment from the Ministry of the Interior (in 1997 and 2001). This "special" visa was implemented as a reorganisation of regulation for showdancers and prostitutes by the Ministry of the Interior in 2001. It is a temporary residence permit which is linked with the employment and which will be granted to women from all countries of the world presumed that certain conditions apply (consent of the chief of the club, insurance, no prohibition of residence).

The women who are now working as sexworkers in Austria are awaiting dramatical consequences through the now effective and threatening loss of their visas. Above all there is the unclarity of punishment when returning to Romania as the Romanian government has not yet made an offer for the exemption from punishment for voluntarily returning women.

A major part of the women will be compelled to go on illegally with their work as prostitutes. They will loose their already quite few rights which have until now at least granted a minimum of structured life and have at least helped to guard against health risks.

As organisations which have been working for years for and with sexworkers (streetwork, counselling, education) we have been fighting for an enhancement of their working and living conditions. We are confronted every day with the direct consequences of this situation and cannot - and do not want to - simply accept it.

We ask you to support the action against the illegalisation of Romanian sexworkers!

Prostitution in Austria is generally not prohibited. Sexworkers are considered as the "new self-employed", are insured and pay income taxes as long as they are in accordance with the regulations (see below).

This action is not about supporting sexist structures. But we see it as our duty to at least actively defend the very few rights sexworkers have. Above that, we will go on fighting for the comprehensive rights on customary living and working conditions for all migrants in Austria and against racist and sexist conditions.

In these matters we ask you for your support!


How you can support this action:


1. send the remonstrative letter (see attachement) to the following
addresses:

presedinte (at) presidency.ro, premier (at) gov.ro, mae (at) mae.ro, drmm (at) mae.ro,
ambromviena (at) magnet.at, heinz.fischer (at) hofburg.at,
wolfgang.schuessel (at) bka.gv.at, liese.prokop (at) bmi.gv.at,
bucarest-ob (at) bmaa.gv.at, maiz (at) servus.at

2. circulate this call and the remonstrative letter

Thank you very much in advance!



Backgroundinformation: regulations for prostitution in Austria


In Austria prostitution is generally not prohibited as long as it is exercised according to certain regulations concerning prostitution. The women are considered as so called "new self-employed" and not as employees. According to this they are insured as self-employed and pay income tax.

Non-EU-migrants who work as prostitutes in Austria and who don"t have any other visa, like e.g. the preferential treatment of third state members which would allow them the exercise of self-employment, need for the legal exercise of prostitution a visa for the self-employed according to § 7 para. 4 Z 4 FrG. This visa was implemented as a reorganisation of regulations for showdancers and prostitutes by the Ministry of the Interior in June 2001. It is a temporary residence permit which is linked with the employment.

Until now this visa has been granted to women from all countries of the world presumed that certain conditions would apply (consent of the chief of the club, insurance, no prohibition of residence). The question whether prostitution was prohibited in the country of origin was of no relevance.


Legal postion of prostitution in Austria
FEDERAL LAWS

StGG (Staatsgrundgesetz/constitution) controls the basic right on the free exercise of trade

ABGB (Allgemeines Buergerliches Gesetzbuch/general civil code) §879 the business of prostitution infringes the good morals. For consumers the cash benefit is non-actionable.

ASVG (Allgemeines Sozialversicherungsgesetz/general social insurance law) employment as employee is not possible.

StGB (Strafgesetzbuch/penal or criminal code) prostitution is not liable to prosecution but the promotion of prostitution (also as an exercise in business operations) and procuration are prosecuted

GSVG (Gewerbliches Sozialversicherungsgesetz/commercial social insurance law) obligates for self- insurance at the SVA of the commercial economy

EINKOMMENSSTEUERGESETZ (income tax act) controls the basic tax liability.
Watch out: regional differences are practised!

STD-law (sexually transmissible diseases-law) dictates weekly health
check-ups

AIDS-law dictates a HIV-test every three months


LAWS OF THE PROVINCES

A huge variety of regulations; some provinces have own laws on prostitution, some implement it as part of the Polizeistrafgesetz (police penal law). In addition the law for the protection of minors can contain relevant regulations concerning sexwork.


More information about the legal agenda for migrant prostitutes and trafficked women:

www.femmigration.net