Dutch MPs want to criminalize sex with forced prostitutes

A majority of the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, wants to make it illegal to have sex with prostitutes that were forced into the profession. Though the parties are still quibbling on how exactly to word such a legislative proposal, NU.nl reports after speaking to several parties.

The initial proposal was submitted by the ChristenUnie, PvdA and SP. It stated that a prostitute's customer can be punished if there is a "reasonable suspicion" of forced prostitution. The CDA and SGP supported this proposal, but were not enough for a majority.

The proposal was adjusted to state that a customer can be prosecuted if there is a "serious suspicion" of exploitation. After the adjustment, GroenLinks threw its support behind the proposal, increasing support for the proposal to a narrow majority of 76 seats.

The SGP, however, thinks that the adjustment makes the law substantially weaker and is considering withdrawing support. The CDA is willing to live the adjustment, but not wholeheartedly. "If it can be no other way, it'll have to be like this. But it is a missed opportunity to intervene earlier", MP Madeleine van Toorenburg said to NU.nl.

The VVD at least will not give their support. "For us it is important how far a client could know that there was human trafficking involved. The proposal talks about 'suspicion'. For us that is too vague and criminalizes the client of a legal profession." MP Foort van Oosten said. "The question that must be answered is whether 'serious suspicion' can be sufficiently determined. For us that is still not sufficiently clear."

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