The Netherlands is well known for a progressive social policy when it comes to prostitution, making it the Las Vegas of Europe. But has this approach, based on a notion of Dutch pragmatism, reduced the negative social ills such as public health concerns, safety and security for sex workers, crime, as well as human trafficking? A four-part series in SPIEGEL Online traces the failures of this approach:
Pierrette Pape believes that there are consequences to the way prostitution is viewed in various countries. “Nowadays, a little boy in Sweden grows up with the fact that buying sex is a crime. A little boy in the Netherlands grows up with the knowledge that women sit in display windows and can be ordered like mass-produced goods.” Pape is the spokeswoman of the European Women’s Lobby in Brussels, an umbrella group for 2,000 European women’s organizations.
Pape finds it “surprising” that Germany is not seriously reviewing its policies related to human trafficking. “The debate has begun throughout Europe, and we hope that German politicians and aid organizations will pay more attention to human rights in the future than they have until now.”
Several European countries now follow the Swedish model. In Iceland, which has adopted similar legislation, politicians are even considering a ban on online pornography. Since 2009, Norway has also punished the customers of prostitutes. In Barcelona, it is illegal to employ the services of a street prostitute.