Legalised Prostitution in Holland, Netherlands, and What It Means for Many Women and Girls
World News aired in the U.K. August 13th, 2010, portrayed a sorry picture of Amsterdam's famous red light district. This liberal country has legalized prostitution, and more, in an effort to offer some control but for many of the women and girls it is a story of abuse, violence and captivity.
Amsterdam is the capital of Holland and 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 those statements above 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 nine and women up to the age of 51.
There are no age limits to the abuse 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 as local police seem to be pretty powerless to stop what is going on.
Females are often groomed on social networking sites and 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 nine, are facing such problems what difference will raising the age make?
The best action, if authorities and residents of 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 and police behind them what chance have these girls and women got?
© 2010 Ethel Smith