Forced prostitution shifts to unsold homes in residential areas

Tougher controls on the licenced sex industry are leading to a shift towards home-based prostitution, the acting chief of the Dutch national police force says in Monday’s Volkskrant.

Ruud Bik says the first national campaign to combat prostitution in residential areas resulted in raids in 30 places in April. In total 35 prostitutes were found, 80% came from abroad and one third were under the age of 21, Bik told the Volkskrant.

‘The girls are getting younger, particularly in the illegal sector,’ he said. ‘We also came across pimps we have identified earlier in connection with people trafficking investigations.’

In one particularly shocking case, a 16-year-old Romanian girl was found in a house in Voorthuizen. She was living in a sublet flat and forced into prostitution. Four arrests were made in that home, Bik said.

Housing crisis

The illegal brothels are often set up in private homes which the owners rent out because they cannot sell the property.

‘You can’t expect real estate agents to act as detectives,’ a spokesman for the estate agents’ organisation NVM told the paper. ‘We try to limit the risks by checking the tenant’s ID and including the right to have the property inspected every three months.’

Local councils should also be more streetwise in their approach, Bik said. ‘If a girl turns up to enter herself on the register and does not speak Dutch but is accompanied by a man who does all the talking, bells should ring,’ he said.

‘Chambers of commerce should also be on the lookout,’ he continued. ‘How can someone want to work as a freelancer if she does not speak Dutch and needs someone else to organise it for her?’

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