Dutch prostitutes seek 'football pension'

prostitutes demonstrating Prostitutes in the Netherlands want the same pension rights as footballers

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Prostitutes in the Netherlands are lobbying the tax authorities for the same pension rights as footballers.

They say that they, like footballers, do "difficult physical work" in the prime of their lives and their careers are short-lived.

A lawyer for the women said they should be allowed to save money in a tax-free pension fund.

Footballers enjoy a scheme under which they are allowed to save 5,000 euros ($7,000) tax-free a month.

The campaign to secure prostitutes a better deal is being run by Freya, a prostitution company which has applied to run a number of brothels in Utrecht.

A lawyer for Freya, Wil Post, told the BBC's Anna Holligan that prostitution, like football, is best-suited to younger people.

"It's hard physical work - you know by 40 you'll be doing something else.

"Some men like older prostitutes, but most men prefer younger women. That's a fact of life and women should be allowed to help take care of themselves financially," she said.

Prostitution was legalised in the Netherlands in 2002.

Under Dutch law, women working in the trade have to register at the chamber of commerce and pay tax.

Some work for prostitution companies, and enjoy the same benefits as salaried workers, including a pension.

But campaigners say the pension is not sufficient.

Wil Post says many women stay in the trade longer than they would like because they are trapped and do not have enough money to get out.

"Unlike footballers, prostitutes have no future career prospects such as coaching or merchandising opportunities," Ms Post said.

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