News/Holland: Dutch give green light to red-light district

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Subject: News/Holland: Dutch give green light to red-light district
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Fri Oct 29 1999 - 16:36:59 EDT


Melanie's Comments: Finally a country that has responded to the issue
of trafficking for forced prostitution in a way that does not criminalize
migratory sex workers or native sex workers. Instead the Dutch gov'ts
response will help protect the rights of sex workers and also help those
trafficked!

Way to go Holland!

Melanie

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Dutch give green light to red-light district

AMSTERDAM, Oct 26 (Reuters) - A near century-long ban on brothels in the
Netherlands was lifted on Tuesday when the upper house of parliament
approved legislation that aims to bring the country's sex industry out of
the shadows.

Proponents of the law, which got the green light from the lower house in
February, argue it will reduce trafficking in women, cut down on child
prostitution and crowd out criminal elements.

Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands but brothels were banned in 1911
by Calvinist campaigners who sought to punish those exploiting women. The
prostitutes were considered victims.

An estimated 2,000 brothels in the country will have to register with local
governments, meet safety standards and confirm they do not hire illegal
workers.

Some 60 percent of the country's estimated 25,000 prostitutes are illegal
immigrants, experts say.

Brothel owners will also have to submit themselves to background checks.

Politicians have been wrangling over whether to legalise brothels and sex
clubs for a decade and in the meantime enforcement authorities have looked
the other way.

Landlords renting rooms to prostitutes who display themselves in windows in
Amsterdam's Red Light district will also fall under the new law.

Under the law, the prison sentence for exploiting minors will be raised to
six years from one.

Only the opposition Christian Democrats and other small religious parties
opposed the law, a parliamentary spokeswoman said.

09:46 10-26-99

Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

Melanie Orhant

morhant@igc.org
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