The Dutch government will soon raise the legal age of prostitution to 21 and require people working as prostitutes to obtain permits. Additionally, the government will introduce a “pimp ban” which expands the Penal code so that third parties who financially benefit from prostitution are punishable if the sex worker does not have a permit.
Currently different rules regarding permits and age apply to different types of sex workers and vary by municipality. For example, in 2013 the municipality of Amsterdam became the first municipality to raise the legal age for prostitution from 18 to 21. The AD reports that the government hopes uniform prostitution regulations will combat abuse, create “a safe and healthy working environment” for prostitutes and deter exploitation and human trafficking.
According to the AD, The Hauge has hotly debated prostitution regulations for many years, always with the “fear that prostitution would go ‘underground’ if too many demands were made.” AD reports in the context of these new regulations, “prostitutes have warned that this will help sex workers find their way in illegality.”
These measures were “a fervent wish” of ChristenUnie foreman Gert-Jan Segers, who negotiated the bill in the coalition agreement of Rutte-3. Rutte-3 also invests in “exit programs” intended to guide sex workers into other professions – an endeavor receiving an annual subsidy of €3 million.