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Criminalizing prostitution is not a solution

Posted on: June 1, 2013


Criminalizing prostitution in Amsterdam is not a solution

Young girls who are brought to the Netherlands under false conditions, women who are being exploited for years by pimps, minors who are forced by pimps in prostitution…These abuses in the sex industry should be combated. Though, the question is how. Not by criminalizing prostitution, but by improving the implementation of current policies.

In the discussion on possible measures to prevent exploitation, people don’t make enough distiction between prostitution and trafficking. The proposed measures, such as the criminalization of clients according to the Swedish model or compulsory registration of prostitutes, are detrimental to the welfare of forced and voluntary prostitutes. The current Dutch legislation already provides sufficient tools to exploitation. The law on trafficking is clearly defined. It’s the embodiment which needs more investigation: an integrated approach between police, justice, health and social care is the solution.

The mandatory registration and the criminalization of prostitution increases the illegal circuit. The demand for paid sex will always exist. Prostitutes will not be registered for fear of losing their anonymity, with the result that they are working illegally. If prostitutes are no longer able to work in a legal context, they are vulnerable to exploitation and violence from clients and pimps. In countries where prostitution is prohibited, sexual violence takes more space, furthermore the prevalence of STDs and HIV is higher.

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