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