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Legalised prostitution in Holland, Netherlands and what it means for many women and girls

Updated on June 10, 2013

 The UK World News shown on 13th August 2010 portrayed a sorry portrait of Amsterdam's red light district. This liberal country has legalised prostitution, and more, in an effort to offer some control. Sadly for many of the women and girls it is a story of abuse, violence and captivity.

A terrible life even if it is their choice.
A terrible life even if it is their choice.

Amsterdam is the capital of Holland. It has long been a busy tourist area but these days for very different reasons. Many visitors arrive looking for legal drugs or prostitutes. Both are readily available.

Prostitutes can be seen in the windows of the red light district of Amsterdam plying their trade.

I am no prude but in some ways this does not sit well with me. Still it is not my country and as long as all parties are over the age of consent and willing participants it is up to them.

Sadly sometimes neither of these statements apply.

The situation has become so dire that a charity has been set up to help those affected. It is called Stoploverboys.NU. The founder of this charity Anita De Witt has said that she has helped girls as young as 9 and women up to the age of 51. There are no age limits but these are simply the maximum and minimum ages she has encountered so far.

This charity currently estimates that around 5,000 females may need help. The police seem to be pretty powerless to stop what is going on.

Females are often groomed on social networking sites. Before they know it they may have been forced into prostitution by what has been termed "loverboys". Once caught in the trap the females are then isolated from family and friends. These ruthless men use the women and girls to source their lifestyles, be it drugs or the high life.

As the Netherlands is a fairly free thinking nation it has been left in a bit of a quandary over what action to take. It seems that currently they are looking at raising the legal age of prostitution from 18 to 21. Anita De Witt does not think this will work.

Neither do I.

If young girls, as young as 9, are facing such problems what difference will raising the age make? The best action, if the Netherlands want prostitution to remain legal, is to come down heavy on these so called loverboys. The police need to take the stories or cruelty and captivity seriously and act upon them.

Without the force of the law officiers behind them what chance have these girls and women got?

No chance.


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    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      I am for legalized prostitution, which I know is a very strange thing coming from a conservative such as myself. I say it for two reasons. One, it will always be in demand, and two, there will always be someone willing to provide it. That does not mean that any legalized prostitution should not be highly monitored and regulated. In the USA, perhaps that should fall under the jurisdiction of the food and drug administration if it were to ever become legal. We'd have to make sure that girls were being properly obtained. There would have to be labor laws in place that would protect girls from unruly bosses. All this to avoid exactly some of the problems you've cited. Amsterdam does not regulate the business very well, and that's in my view the root of the problem.

      As much as I'm not for a lot of regulation in most cases, this really is the sort of business you have to have very strict guidelines, and a way to enforce the laws to ensure brothels understand that breaking the law will result in not just fines, but will put them out of business, and the girls need to have an agency to turn to when things aren't being handled properly.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Doitforher: Yes that is probably true of some women but for too many it is a type of slavery

    • profile image

      DoItForHer 7 years ago

      Many of the people who read this probably think of how men take advantage of girls, and they often do, but what about the women? I've never been a part of that type of lifestyle, but clearly there are a number of women involved.

      Are they just standing by and allowing the bad interactions to occur? Are the women encouraging it like the men are? The quote:

      "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men and women [sic] do nothing."

      probably applies here. The people who are passively doing nothing in the face of evil are often just as guilty as the ones who are actively performing the evil. We too often get focused on the ones performing the bad deeds when we maybe should be looking at ourselves.

      The "victims" are sometimes as guilty as the victimizers.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      If the government have legalised prostitution they should offer support

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I heard about this many times. This is the fact, my friend. We can't do anything, only the government can manage this situation. We all know some country to be famous because of prostitution. Like Thailand. Thanks for share about this. Good work, my friend.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks cmhypno and habee for stopping by

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      It sickens me to think of a 9-year-old girl forced into prositution. Great job covering this!

    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 7 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      I always think that it is a sad comment on the world if women and girls make their living from prostitution. Even if they freely choose this occupation, they must have serious issues with their self-worth if they are prepared to sell their bodies, and, as you sadly point out Ethel, so many of these girls do not choose to become prostitutes but are coerced or forced into it. I think that prostitution has to stop being glamourised and being portrayed as an easy way to make money, and the men who use prostitutes (especially if they are going to underage girls) should stop - no demand, no need to supply!

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      It sure is Dolores. You would think that in a country with legalised prostituion there would be more regulations which would help stop such abuse.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

      I have read that most prostitutes were sexually abused as children. This legalized system seems to take advantage of young women with emotional problems, using them, even though there is the 'cloak' of protection. It's sad.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks to you all for your insightful comments.

      I too have long thought that legalising prostitution would help control it. However in Holland it has enabled such terrible goings on.

      I do not know the answer but slavery, sexual or otherwise, has no place in society.

    • fucsia profile image

      fucsia 7 years ago

      The legalize prostitution has failed: In fact exists also in Amsterdam the illegal market of prostitutes, that forces even those who practice legal prostitution to lower their prices ( seems to speak of an object...).These are environments where the dignity of woman is destroyed, even though is the woman to choose to prostitute herself .I do not understand prostitution, but if it is always existed there will be a why.... I do not know which is this why, but I know that in ancient Rome, prostitutes were very important in society and were respected. Instead today, a prostiut is a slave.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      In Germany prostituition is legal and they get examanined every month by a doctor and they have to go otherwise they get picked up by the police. They got a licence and treat as a job. The pimp too. Maybe I am bias but I think it is best because also they house or flats get inspected. Prostitution is the oldest profession and will never die out and I think it is best to have it controlled and especially examined by doctors. Doctors wouldn't dare giving false documents because if a disease brakes out their licence will be withdrawn.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      Thank you for publishing this enlightening Hub. I have long favored legalizing prostitution in the United States, figuring that there is no way to stop it so we may as well tax it; reduce STDs through mandatory health inspections of the women; and get rid of the pimps.

    • H P Roychoudhury profile image

      H P Roychoudhury 7 years ago from Guwahati, India

      It is necessary to look into the matter why certain women or girls wish to work in sexually oriented businesses. If the root of causes is ascertained then the rectification is easy. The reasons may be (i] ignorance (ii) sexual appetite (ii) poverty (iv) frustration in life. Proper education will minimize the sex business besides the solution of other problems. But in no way it is justified to curtail the freedom of life by legislation.

    • samsons1 profile image

      Sam 7 years ago from Tennessee

      voted up & useful! very good hub. Well written with concern for unfortunate females. Did not know the extent of the problem in Amsterdam, so sorry to hear. Like Loriamoore said above, "Prostitution should not be legal."

    • profile image

      loriamoore 7 years ago

      I work with a ministry for women who work in sexually oriented businesses. I used to be a stripper, so I know what it's like and the inherent problems therein. Prostitution should not be legal.

    • Deborah Demander profile image

      Deborah Demander 7 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

      Prostitution is a bane on civilization. Unfortunately, there seems to be no end.


    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 7 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

      Thank you for shining a light on this horrific trend. The divinity and power women have has long been quenched by men waving the banner of god, gold and glory...Women are the bearers of our human race. It is just one more move to destroy the beauty and power of women. Also, sex is a beautiful thing between humans, but these slave and child porno trades make it dirty and commerce. Perhaps a human rights organization will eventually step in. Young girls are so easily targeted - older women become desperate financially...for shame - It seems Women are treated with as much disregard as our Mother Earth - for shame...