Some 40,000 youngsters have signed a petition calling on the government to make it a criminal offence to visit a prostitute and the issue will now be debated in parliament, the Volkskrant said on Tuesday.
Christian-inspired campaign group Exxpose will hand over the petition, slated Ik ben onbetaalbaar (I am priceless), to MPs on Wednesday, the paper said. ‘By legalising prostitution, the government has normalised paying for sex,’ campaign leader Willemijn de Jong told the paper.
De Jong, the Volkskrant says, was inspired to launch the campaign after watching a 2013 Al Jazeera documentary in which the Dutch approach to prostitution was heavily criticised. It has taken her six years to collect the necessary 40,000 signatures to force a parliamentary debate.
The campaigners say they back the introduction of the Swedish approach to prostitution, in which clients are prosecuted for using prostitutes. This, De Jong says, would end the inequality which prostitution creates.
‘We are always hearing about prostitutes who are happy with their independence, but they are a very small percentage of the total group and legislation is based on them,’ she said. ‘The biggest group is made up of women who are forced into prostitution, often from countries with poor socio-economic conditions.’
Abuse and addiction also lead to women becoming prostitutes but ‘that is not a well-considered career choice,’ she said.
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