Parliament against banning paid sex
A majority in parliament shot down a CDA proposal to ban paid sex. According to multiple parties, making prostitution illegal is no way to fight abuses in the industry. Main objections were that banning prostitution would only send sex workers underground, and make the abuses against them even more invisible, Het Parool and De Telegraaf report.
CDA parliamentarian Anne Kuik argued that prostitution is by definition unequal, and that the sector is full of abuses. "Most prostitutes would not actually want to have sex with the man in front of them. But it still happens, because it is paid. So consent is bought, the woman is a product. That is no longer possible in these modern times," Kuik said. But her proposal only got support from the other two Christian parties, SGP and ChristenUnie, who have been arguing for banning prostitution for years.
The other two coalition parties VVD and D66 are against a ban. "As far as the VVD is concerned, prostitution remains legal," VVD parliamentarian Martijn Bolkestein said. "You cannot first regulate a profession and then ban its patronage." The VVD sees more value in prosecuting criminal pimps and brothel owners.
"Prostitution is just a job, a profession," D66 parliamentarian Achraf Bouali said. "A lot of people enjoy doing this and earn a living with it." Bouali is worried that banning prostitution will only result in it moving underground. That would lead to more violence and an increase in the number of HIV infection, the MP said.
Opposition party PvdA agrees that there are many abuses in the sex industry, but banning sex work is not the solution, MP Attje Kuiken said. "It is time to look for new solutions with an open mind."
GroenLinks parliamentarian Niels van den Berge suggested rather giving sex workers more rights, so that they have a stronger position to fight abuses from.
At the other end of the political spectrum, the PVV called for the minimum age for sex work to be raised to 21 years and for harsher action against human traffickers. "The Netherlands is a funfair for human traffickers, the chance of being caught is almost zero," MP Gidi Markuszower said.
The government agreed to commission a comparative study of the way in which other countries handle sex work. State Secretary Ankie Broekers-Knol of Justice and Security wants to map out which different systems different countries use, and compare them to find out what is the most efficient way to fight abuses.