Did anyone really think that the legalisation of brothels would lead to prostitution becoming a ‘normal’ job? It seems to have taken seven years for someone – Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen – to come out and state the obvious.
The law doesn’t work and women are still being exploited, often with violence. There is simply too much money at stake.
On the one hand you have forced prostitution – sad eastern European girls who have been hoodwinked – and the sordid reality of what is always being presented as a jolly tourist attraction.
And on the other, you have the fact that many prostitutes don’t want to go legit anyway. Why pay tax and premiums if you can get away with it?
Amsterdam city council is to be praised for its efforts to get to grips with red light criminality by withdrawing brothel licences for people with dodgy connections.
Critics say up to one-third of the city’s red light windows may close and that the measure will drive prostitution underground.
Prostitution is indeed a fact of life. It has always been with us, but that doesn’t mean we should be encouraging it. The state should be doing all it can to make life bearable for those who decide to sell their bodies for whatever reason.
And that means making sure prostitutes have the same rights and obligations as everyone else. But at the end of the day it will never be ‘normal’ to work in the sex industry.
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