Brothel legalization-Trafficking prevention

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Subject: Brothel legalization-Trafficking prevention
From: Carol Leigh (
Date: Sun Jan 31 1999 - 00:42:57 EST

I would like to hear from list members from the Netherlands about what's
going on there.

>Dutch Debate Permitting Brothels
>.c The Associated Press
>AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) -- Hoping to end the use of underage girls and
>desperate immigrant women as prostitutes, Dutch lawmakers began debating a
>plan Wednesday to overturn a 1912 ban on brothels.
>Although prostitution itself is legal in the tolerant Netherlands,
>operating bordellos remains against the law. Still, they have long been
>allowed to operate in certain restricted districts as long as they followed
>strict hygienic standards and fire safety regulations.
>The legislation now before parliament's lower house would reverse the ban.
>Supporters say that by legalizing and tightly regulating brothels, it will
>be easier to crack down on the exploitation of teen-age girls and women
>from Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe who are sometimes forced into
>Opponents worry that lifting the ban would allow brothels to flourish
>``This law tries to improve protections for prostitutes, and we're all
>working together for that,'' said Pieter Jan Biesheuvel of the opposition
>Christian Democratic Appeal party. ``But if a community doesn't want any
>brothels within its boundaries, it should be able to refuse.''
>Supporters of lifting the ban disagree, arguing that legalization would
>give local officials more control over houses of prostitution, not less.
>The bill, sponsored by Justice Minister Benk Korthals of the right-leaning
>Liberal Party, also is an attempt to control trafficking in drugs and
>weapons, which often occurs in the seedy neighborhoods where bordellos tend
>to flourish.
>Korthals' legislation would toughen the penalty for employing underage
>girls and immigrants forced into prostitution from one year in prison to
>six years. A similar bill was introduced and debated last year, before
>lawmakers deadlocked on it and the session ended without a vote.
>Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands for those over 18 years old, and
>prostitutes are required to report their earnings and pay income taxes.
>Despite the ban on bordellos, there are an estimated 2,000 brothels in
>Holland, generating an estimated $525 million a year. Some critics of the
>new bill contend it's little more than a government attempt to eventually
>tax the brothels and get a piece of the action.
>The city of Amsterdam recently launched its own licensing system, which
>controls where bordello owners may operate -- mainly in the capital's
>infamous red-light district, where scantily clad women pose behind
>plate-glass windows -- and lays out work and building conditions.
>About 40 percent of the country's 30,000 prostitutes work in brothels,
>while 30 percent work behind shop windows in red-light districts. The rest
>are streetwalkers or work for escort services, according to the Justice
>Lawmakers also were discussing ways Wednesday to stop the ``trafficking in
>women'' who are brought into the European Union from other countries on
>false pretenses.
>AP-NY-01-27-99 1734EST
>Copyright 1999 The Associated Press.

Carol Leigh
Prostitutes' Education Network

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