Dutch News

4 March 2014

Ivo Opstelten, minister of Security and Justice wants the minimum age of 21 for prostitution to be specifically laid down in the law. This is apparent from an amendment to the bill 'Regulating prostitution and combating abuses in the sex industry', that was sent to the Lower House today. The registration for prostitutes and the duty to ascertain for clients has been cancelled.

One of the outcomes of the debate on the bill in the Upper House is that the registration for prostitutes and the duty to ascertain for clients has now been cancelled. Due to the cancellation of the registration requirement for prostitutes, it is necessary to explicitly include the minimum age in the law. In the original bill, the minimum age of 21 years old was a condition of registration. The aim is to keep men and women who are too young out of prostitution.

The age standard provides municipal supervisors the ability to check the ages of individual prostitutes They can approach under-age prostitutes and refer them to healthcare workers. Prostitutes under 21 can be given a (small) fine. However, in principle, they will not be prosecuted if they are victims of trafficking and are therefore committing punishable offences under duress. A client who performs sexual acts with a prostitute under the age of 21 years, faces a prison sentence of up to one year. License holders are punishable if they allow prostitutes under 21 years to work for them.

The proposed licensing system for the sex industry remains unchanged. By setting nationwide uniform requirements for owners of prostitution businesses, the law ensures that the licensed companies provide a safe and responsible environment. This will soon also include all escort agencies.

Moreover, the Minister will send parliament the results of a quick-scan Prostitute's clients and criminal law, which consists of a legal document analysis and some interviews about the effectiveness of legislation concerning the clients of prostitutes. This shows that existing criminal provisions under specific conditions already provide opportunities for clients to be held criminally accountable.

Moreover, the quick-scans makes clear that individual - and broader - criminalisation of the clients of prostitutes who are victims of human trafficking would fit within our criminal justice system. The Christen Unie has already announced an initiative proposal to this effect. In his letter, Opstelten indicates that he is eagerly awaiting this proposal.







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