City officials in Amsterdam have recently announced changes that will be implemented in Amsterdam’s red-light district that will help those in government gain better insight on women in prostitution. They acknowledged that many of the inconsistencies in Amsterdam’s prostitution laws have left women, especially those from Eastern Europe, vulnerable to human trafficking and exploitation. Their plan is to gain a stronger grip on prostitution in order to identify those who are at-risk for exploitation.
In Amsterdam, Not For Sale works to build relationships with those in the red-light district who could potentially come from an exploitative situation via outreach efforts, providing nutritional services, as well as health checks when applicable.
To combat the issue of exploitation in the red-light district, the city will be raising the age for women entering prostitution in order to protect young girls who may be victims of loverboys from working in Amsterdam. The current age is 18 years old, but will be raised to 21 years old in the new year. Brothel owners will also be held to stricter regulations, which in turn could allow those suffering from exploitative circumstances to find their plight more easily recognizable.
Many efforts to clean up the red-light district have been occurring over the last few years in an attempt to remove the area from the control of organized crime. 280 of the areas original 400 brothels are still open, and many cases of trafficking have been prosecuted.
Whilst we acknowledge that there has been a history of exploitation across Western Europe that cannot be ended overnight, Not For Sale is supportive of the new efforts to reduce the vulnerability of victims of trafficking in The Netherlands. We are always exploring ways in which staff and volunteers on the ground can partake in providing services to those who are most at-risk.
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