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Labour party investigates imposing a ban on visits to a prostitute

Monday 18 February 2013

The Labour party has started an investigation into the possibility of criminalising visits to prostitutes, the AD reports on Monday.

MP Myrthe Hilkens is to visit Sweden later this week to assess the implications of the ban there. In Sweden people who visit prostitutes can be fined or given a jail term, the AD says.

Deputy prime minister Lodewijk Asscher revealed himself as a fan of the tough Swedish line while alderman in charge of reducing crime in Amsterdam's red light district.

Government strategy

Asscher, a Labour party minister, is currently working on a policy document together with justice minister Ivo Opstelten in which the government will outline its strategy to deal with the sex industry.

Hilkens told the AD she is visiting Sweden with an open mind, adding that forced prostitution is one of the 'most important misunderstandings' of our time.

Between 50% and 80% of the women working in the Dutch sex industry are said to have been forced into prostitution. 'It is not the man who visits her who forces her but a people trafficker or a pimp. Or she is forced by addiction,' Hilkens said. 'I feel responsible for these women.'

Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands and brothels can apply for official licences. The government is planning to increase the age at which women can become prostitutes to 21.

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

Wherever they're prostitutes and brothels around, there will always be some big-time criminality nearby.

By Peter | 18 February 2013 10:34 AM

Are they going to get this business even more criminalized?

By Peter | 18 February 2013 12:17 PM

Whilst not an expert in these matters, I forsee a problem with this admittedly well intentioned idea. Presumably, a woman who has been trafficked and forced into prostitution has a pimp who is expecting a certain 'return' from her in the form of the money she earns. If men are no longer allowed to visit prostitutes, then the trafficked woman is no longer able to give the pimp money.

I shudder to think what might happen to her then.

By Nika | 18 February 2013 12:25 PM

Banning isnt the answer it just pushes it underground where its even harder to control.
there are 2 types of prostitution forced and "need to" the need to usually cant control money and get themselves into deep debt. more real long term help will help these girls
As for the forced upping ther age limit wont help most of this taskes pklace behind closed doors. and tyhe girls can be well underage.
If you really want to do something open it up and take a deep look into it and it cna be solved, but it takes time money and resources.
hmmmm lets change the law that doesnt cost make and hey yes we fixed it. oh look its disapeared

By Roger | 18 February 2013 1:44 PM

So we should encourage prostitution so that these women -- being forced into prostitution in the first place -- could pay their pimps? We should support this business so that the pimps can get fat??

In human trafficking, even if the women make enough money to buy herself back, they will be instantly sold to another pimp, and another cycle begins.

Stop human trafficking.

By Wing | 18 February 2013 2:00 PM

How about giving forced labour to pimps and lover boys ? they took 3 years of life of a girl? put them to work in a factory 16 hours for as many years they stole for the girl. I think is quiet reasonable.

By Fabster | 18 February 2013 2:16 PM

Nika, your very argument was once used against banning slavery. It is a flawed and awful argument to keep an exploitative and immoral practice going.

Prostitution is one of NL's biggest national shames and needs to be looked at realistically instead of just going "oh men can buy sex that's so liberal" in a horrifically misogynistic, blinkered way.

By bobbianderson | 18 February 2013 3:37 PM

The people who force women into prostitution rank among the most vile cratures on the planet.
Would to God we could round them all up and send them to the moon.

By Ron | 18 February 2013 4:49 PM

prostitution has survived a long time, and probably will after a ban. Criminal are in every profession, from horse meat to big banker, why should this be any different?

By DD | 18 February 2013 5:23 PM

The madness of Nika's logic aside, if prostitution is (semi) legal, how on earth can you make it illegal to visit a prostitute?

Egad, how about actually doing something to tackle people trafficking and forced prostitution? A novel idea, I know, but you never know.

By Garry | 18 February 2013 5:27 PM

So stupid the politicians in Holland, they have a great system that works, with legal marijuana and prostitution, so they want to break what works and make them illegal so the criminals can control those big businesses and tax revenues drop.
Sounds like the bottled water companies who want to reduce the quality of the water in Holland so they can make more money by selling more water.
Whatever they do they can never stop people from using prostitutes, drugs, or water.
Not only would criminalizing prostitution increase criminal activity, it would also increase the incidence of rape, since certain men would have no outlet for their lust.

By Bentley | 18 February 2013 5:38 PM

Let me try to get this straigth, Labour is wanting to apply restraint on an aspect of prostitution? Are not both Labour and the Liberal VVD part of the drive in the 1990s to legalize prostitution? Are they not the "fathers" of the legalized prostitution 'industry'? Where in this news item is the acknowledgement that got it then wrong? Yes, count me in with those who are elated they are seeing the human disaster their experiment has caused at in the Netherlands, while the country's diplomats abroad were lecturing other countries to follow the legalization example. Good news on a Monday morning!

By Albert Kuyerhuis | 18 February 2013 6:25 PM

Seeing as some MP's are worried about criminality regarding prostitution, why not just nationalize the whole biz & let the guv be the pimp, or would they also be tempted to cheat? Your guess is as good as mine. :P

Government controlled coffee shops & prostitution, why not?

By The visitor | 18 February 2013 8:01 PM

The grass is always greener on the other side. In the provinice in which I live, being a prostitute is legal but it is a crime to buy sex. here too, there is a belief that prostitutes are working under a "pimp" or are addicts. while that may be true, the law doesn't stop it from happening. Worst, prostitutes are still being assaulted and murdered. This is a well-intentioned idea but not the solution.

By A Canadian Opinion | 18 February 2013 8:06 PM

Making it illegal just means having less chances of controlling it. yet it would likely keep on existing, just in a even more shabby form.
...not to mention what will happen to the men who are potentially unstable and could turn into rapers, should it really become difficult to get hold of the service of those women.
They should make sure this women are safe and conscientiously willing to do what they do and they should be offering protection in case of any suspects.

By Doc | 18 February 2013 8:45 PM

This is terrible news. The Swedish model serves primarily to make prostitution more opaque and dangerous: it forces sex workers into the shadows and away from social services and police. It prevents them from taking precautions for their safety and thus makes them easier targets for predators. The Swedish sex workers' union vehemently opposes this policy because it makes sex workers less safe.
Forced prostitution is a serious problem but this is most definitely not the answer.

By Andrew | 18 February 2013 8:52 PM

What they should do is the following:
1) Ban private ownership of prostitution-related businesses. Brothels and escort agencies should be run only a co-op or non-profit basis to avoid profiteering(which inevitably leads to coercion and abuse)
2) Require all sex workers to attend monthly counseling sessions with a psychiatrist or psychologist along with a physical exam.
3) Require anyone doing business with a prostitution-related business, from the accountant to the security guard to the janitor, to pass a background check to prevent infiltration by organized crime.
4) Set aside money to fund services to help prostitutes change profession- low-interest loans, employment training, counseling, etc.

By Andrew | 18 February 2013 8:58 PM

If the Dutch sex industry is in such dismay it's because of a failure in policing & administering. They should be looking at that to reduce criminality, not create more of it by idiotic laws.

By Anne Onymous | 19 February 2013 12:37 AM

You can outlaw it, but that won't mean the sex industry will disappear. It will become ever more an underground world, the workers will lose the rights they have fought for and criminal gangs will thrive even more. Welcome to the EUSSR.....

By Marco | 19 February 2013 2:05 AM

Al that will happen is to move it onto the street and the women will be worse off and criminal activity higher.

By Bob MacNeil | 19 February 2013 5:33 AM

No doubt an excellent proposal. 2013 we shouldn't continue buying and selling human beings.

By Renee | 19 February 2013 7:24 AM

Labour party investigates imposing a ban on visits to a prostitute. You should change the Red light to Amber.

By Terence Hale | 19 February 2013 10:53 AM

Or he just might stop forcing more women into prostitution because there aren't anymore money in it for him. Your concern for her is just heartbreaking - NOT!.

By anni | 19 February 2013 3:51 PM

This idea is stupid. It will force prostitution underground where it will be next to impossible to protect the women who work as prostitutes. It will create even more criminality just like the stupid wietpas law.

By groverpm | 19 February 2013 4:54 PM

Politicians in many countries are throwing numbers around about the number of women trafficked or forced into prostitution. What evidence is there that, in the Netherlands, 50 to 80% of female sex workers have been 'forced' into prostitution?

By Eve Ray | 19 February 2013 5:16 PM

Apparently people have been having sex for ages now, so there seems to be nothing wrong in principle with prostitution as long as it's carried out under the right conditions. There should always be informed freedom of choice, with no coercion or intimidation by traffickers, pimps or even the client. The client should try to be the one she would most like to see again. Many men experience difficulty in forming relationships with women intimate enough for sex, and prostitutes perform an extremely important and valuable service for them. At the other end of the scale men with partners should not cheat on them, but that is not a matter on which the state can legislate.

By foxtrotuk | 20 March 2013 3:21 PM

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