New Dutch government criminalizes prostitution further
The Netherlands is forming a new government, and seems to be nearly finished with it's proposals. The last details of their agreement are now being worked out, and one of them regards the new prostitution policy. The new prostitution policy could have gone either way, either in favor of sex workers or against them, since the new coalition exists out of VVD (liberals), D66 (democrats) but also two christian parties, CDA and ChristenUnie. And especially the ChristenUnie is a hardliner against prostitution, although they cleverly disguise it as an anti-human trafficking policy.

Today however it got announced that the new prostitution policy will include a pimp ban, criminalizing any pimp without a license. And yes, I know what you are thinking. Could pimps get licenses in The Netherlands? Well, no. At least, not what most people think are pimps. Because this is exactly where the ChristenUnie has the upper hand, they are much better informed about prostitution, and they're using it against us. While other pro-prostitution parties such as D66 in general are less well informed, and the ChristenUnie is playing that card very well during the negotiations.

Even the newsreports don't even know what the new plan actually is. Some newsreports are reporting that the pimp ban will be re-introduced. Others report that 'illegal pimps' will not just be fined, but even will get jail time. But the question of course becomes, can you also be a legal pimp? Because is there something as a pimping license? Well, no. There's no licence for pimps in The Netherlands, so by definition all pimps are illegal.

Now for those of you that are thinking now: how come The Netherlands never criminalized pimps? Well, if you're thinking about people who force women into prostitution and/or exploit them. They are already criminalized, since this is called human trafficking. So if this is what you're talking about, than a pimp is simply called a human trafficker, and that person is already a criminal by the Dutch law. In short, this new law doesn't fight human trafficking, forced prostitution or exploitation. But it seems to be talking about something else than just a human trafficker.

It is difficult to pinpoint exactly what the new coalition means with a pimp, since often people have no idea what the definition of a pimp is. But if we have to believe the newsreports, they are talking about 'people who financially profit from prostitutes'. And the new plan is to criminalize people who do this without a license.

So who exactly will be targeted with this new law? Well, the list of people that could be considered 'people who financially profit from prostitutes without a license' is very long. For example, my bookkeeper financially profits from prostitutes, and he doesn't have a prostitution license. Or for example my mother, whom I frequently send money to, to support her.
But the list becomes much longer. For example chauffeurs who drive around escort girls. Or what to think about security guys, who protect prostitutes from harm, they also don't have a prostitution license.

In short, there are a lot of people who profit from prostitutes financially without a license. But that doesn't make them bad people. In fact, many of these people help us. But that just might be exactly the plan of the ChristenUnie, to make our work much more difficult, and slowly reduce prostitution in The Netherlands this way.

But most importantly, it doesn't help fighting human trafficking. After all, just because you criminalize a larger group of people, doesn't make it easier to find evidence in human trafficking cases. The only thing it does, is putting a lot more people in jail for no reason. The other thing is that it just makes the lives of a lot of sex workers more difficult. And the more difficult their lives will become, the more they will be depending on others, and that makes them vulnrable to human trafficking. In short, this law will only increase human trafficking dramatically.

Of course, this will also result in more people being arrested and eventually convicted. And once that happens, the ChristenUnie will have statistics showing that the number of convicted people profiting from prostitutes have increased a lot, claiming they're approach works, and more people ending up in jail who are actually innocent. In short, this law is extremely dangerous, and makes me wonder how far they will go with labeling people 'profiting from prostitution'. I mean, will they soon also arrest the clerks at the bank, because the bank is profiting from me as a prostitute, and they don't have a license for this? So would that mean that banks will start to refuse me out of fear of being seen as an 'illegal pimp'.

And things can go very crazy. For example, even the supermarket profits from me being a prostitute. So are they going to arrest people from the supermarket as well? And does that mean they will refuse me as well if they would find out I am a prostitute? In short, do I need to start hiding the fact that I am a prostitute more, out of fear that the people that profit from me won't let me buy stuff from them anymore, or use their services? And doesn't this make us much more vulnrable? Especially if there will be a prostitution register, like how the new coalition is proposing right now, to register all the prostitutes.

Because after all. If nobody wants to do business with us anymore, because they would be considered criminals. The only people that still would want to do business with us, are the real criminals, because they will know we are vulnrable, so they can exploit us much easier. In short, isn't this just a short cut to handing over the entire industry to criminals?

The weirdest thing is the fact that they used the fact that illegal prostitution is growing as an argument. After all, the reason why illegal prostitution is growing in The Netherlands, is because of the fact that cities such as Amsterdam, has closed down so many window brothels for example. In short, this is a result of their own policies, not because so many prostitutes love to work illegal. Sex workers want to work legal, but cities make that impossible by reducing workplaces for prostitutes with over 40%.

In short, if they really want to reduce illegal prostitution, they shouldn't be targeting people profiting from prostitutes, but they should give us back the workplaces we have lost due to gentrification projects such as Project 1012 in Amsterdam, and the closure of the windows on boats in Utrecht.

Dutch version


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    Romanian prostitute working in the Red Light District in Amsterdam (De Wallen), speaking out for the truth behind prostitution. Blogging about prostitution, human trafficking, forced prostitution, politics and all the myths surrounding it. Member of PROUD, the Dutch union of sex workers.