Spike in illegal prostitution reports as sex clubs remain closed
With sex work still being banned under the coronavirus restrictions, reports of illegal prostitution are skyrocketing, Nieuwsuur reported after speaking to involved organizations.
Anonymous tip line Meld Misdaad Anoniem told the program that reports about illegal prostitution doubled. Anti-human trafficking organization Defense for Children noticed a significant increase of hotels asking for training on how to better recognize illegal prostitution. "We have indications from the police, from municipalities as well, that there is an increase," Celine Verheijen of Defense for Children said to the program. "[Hotels] are aware that more illegal prostitution is now taking place. People are looking elsewhere and hotel rooms are now cheaper than before corona."
Amsterdam alone has temporarily closed down two hotels due to "extensive illegal prostitution". The Urban Lodge Hotel was closed for three months in December and is now open again. The second hotel, the name of which was not released, was closed down last week. According to Verheijen, such a strict intervention is rare. "Fines are often handed out, or work agreements are made with hotels. But it is exceptional that they actually closed. I therefore expect an accumulation of incidents there."
Hospitality association KHN told Nieuwsuur that hotels quickly contact the police when they notice a suspicious situation. "It should also be noted that in general, but especially in larger hotels, it is very difficult to estimate these types of situation. It is true that precisely now that there is less occupancy due to the corona crisis, the wrong types are more noticeable," a KHN spokesperson said.
The city of Amsterdam told Nieuwsuur that it is continuing to inspect hotels if signals of illegal prostitution are received. Rotterdam and The Hague said they are proactively enforcing the current ban on sex work. Inspectors make appointments if they see an advertisement for sex work, and hotels are checked if there are reports of illegal prostitution. Utrecht is not actively enforcing the ban, but will respond to reports of prostitution.