Netherland's liberal sex work laws to be debated in parliament

A petition to make paying for sex illegal has accumulated more than 42,000 signatures and will appear before the Dutch parliament for debate.

Eliza Archer
Eliza Archer NewsMavens, Europe
Netherland's liberal sex work laws to be debated in parliament - NewsMavens
Amsterdam's Red Light district, Pexels.

Why this story matters:

The campaign “I am priceless” (Ik ben onbetaalbaar) is led by largely Christian organization Exxpose that hopes to make paying for sex illegal in the Netherlands.  The campaign attempts to tug at emotional heartstrings by using phrases such as “what if it was your sister?” and “prostitution is both a cause and consequence of inequality”. The campaign states that the Dutch sex industry exploits women and is obsolete, further suggesting that women need other options instead of sex work. 

Sex workers have criticized the campaign, saying the campaign will have an inherently negative affect and make their job “much, much more dangerous”.

"This petition is not in the sex workers' interest,” says Foxxy a member of the sex workers’ collective, Proud. “It's people who read the Bible who are trying to stop us". 

Foxxy argues that making it illegal to access sex work would only make it more difficult for the women. It would make them more vulnerable to violence as they would be working illegally, and therefore they would not have the support of the authorities.

The petition comes at the same time as tour groups are being banned from the Red Light District. 

Details from the story:

  • The campaign centres on the “Nordic model”, as seen in Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Northern Ireland and France.
  • Sex between consenting adults is currently legal in any form in the Netherlands.
  • The Dutch government legalised prostitution in 2000.


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