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Amsterdam may go it alone on prostitution policy, increase age to 21

Thursday 21 February 2013

Amsterdam is considering going it alone in tightening its control of the sex industry after efforts to reach a new strategy at national level appear to have failed.

In particular, the city is considering raising the legal age to become a prostitute from 18 to 21 and introducing a language test.

'A language test is important because it will not only enable the prostitute to speak to police and social workers but take care of herself in an emergency situation,' a council spokesman told the Parool.

The proposals will be discussed by the city council executive next week, says the Parool. In order to make them legally binding, they will be incorporated into local by-laws.


The upper house of parliament is currently considering legislation which would require all prostitutes to register as sex workers. It would force clients to check whether the prostitute is registered or not. Both these requirements have come in for heavy criticism.

Amsterdam's mayor Eberhard van der Laan has written to justice minister Ivo Opstelten urging him to enact the non-controversial aspects of the legislation, such as a higher age limit and a register of illegal escort agencies.

'We need national rules as soon as possible to be able to combat people trafficking,' Van der Laan said in his letter.


Earlier this week it emerged MPs from the ruling Labour party and opposition ChristenUnie are visiting Sweden to assess prostitution policy there. In Sweden it is illegal to visit a sex worker.

Amsterdam has an estimated 5,000 to 8,000 sex workers, 90% of whom are female. The percentage of people forced into prostitution ranges from 10% to 90%.

Prostitution in the Netherlands was legalised in 2000 but experts agree this has not solved the many problems in the sex industry, particularly in forced prostitution. In particular eastern European prostitutes are said to be at risk of exploitation.

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

I've always thought that this occupation is chosen by the most desperate and exploited men and women. I think it should not be allowed at all but making it legal for 21 and over is a step in the right direction.

By M | 21 February 2013 11:08 AM

Yes, those sex slaves really should brush up on their Dutch. And those drunk and stoned Amsterdam tourists should be checking the prostitutes papers....Seriously?!!! How about getting tough on crime?
And that range of illegal sex workers-10 to 90% means that the government has no clue.
I wonder what could be thought of to help these women...I'm sure we can do better than this.

By mary | 21 February 2013 1:09 PM

This is a brilliant idea, it will help enormously with mass unemployment, encourage spending & get us out of the recession, keep up the good work, raise the age to 30 if you like, bravo! :P

By The visitor | 21 February 2013 2:11 PM

I agree with 21 for whores and clients. How about 24/7 CCT at all entrances at the brothel's expense.

By Puck | 21 February 2013 5:35 PM

putting women in a windows shop is disgusting. they are human beings.

By jim | 23 February 2013 6:32 AM

The age is already 21 in the red light district. Its the illegal escort agencies complete with pimps and loverboys that are breaking the law. The legal sex workers need more protection, not less. The recreational sex trade has been a part of the character of the Netherlands that brings more revenue to everybody in that part of the world. Keep up the good work ladies!

By chris | 23 February 2013 1:26 PM

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