Sunday 17 October 2021

‘Clients should face prosecution for not reporting prostitution abuse’

There is considerable sympathy among Dutch MPs for moves to get tougher on people who visit prostitutes and don’t report suspected exploitation or abuse, website reports on Wednesday.

The senate, or upper house of parliament, is currently considering legislation that would force prostitutes to sign up to an official register. Clients who fail to check if a girl is registered, could face prosecution.

But MPs from the small Christian party ChristenUnie want to go further and say clients should be prosecuted for failing to report to the authorities if they suspect a woman may be being abused or forced to work as a prostitute.

Gert-Jan Segers plans to complete draft legislation before the summer and, according to, there is considerable sympathy for the idea. MPs are due to debate human trafficking later on Wednesday.


‘You are not innocent if you know or could have known that the woman you are visiting is being exploited or abused,’ Segers told the website. ‘Then you are jointly responsible for the situation.’

Not every bruise means a woman has been hit, Segers said. ‘But if a girl is shaky, damaged and crying and says she does not want to, then you have a reasonable idea that something is up,’ the MP said.

MPs from the VVD, CDA, SP, GroenLinks and SGP support the idea in principle although they raise questions about the legal situation. ‘From an evidence point of view, there are a lot of open issues,’ said VVD parliamentarian Ard van der Steur. ‘Similar initiatives have already been shot down on practical considerations.’


Labour MP Myrthe Hilkens, who recently visited Sweden to find out more about that country’s approach to prostitution, declined to comment ahead of today’s debate. ‘It is an extremely difficult legal question and needs to be discussed very carefully,’ she is quoted as saying.

According to RTL news, the Labour party will raise the issue of better checks on hotels used by prostitutes in today’s debate.

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