trafficking2Prostitution was legalized in the Netherlands in the year 2000. It has been allowed in Amsterdam since the 1600s. There are about 8,000 women in prostitution in the city. Young women are especially vulnerable because they are often groomed by pimps who force them into selling their bodies when they are 18. Amsterdam’s mayor is taking stock of the laws legalizing prostitution which were supposed to alleviate human trafficking of women. Instead of lessening abuse of women, legalizing of prostitution has increased it. Saying that “the situation is so grave that we have to act”, the mayor maintains that the first priority is to keep young women from being pushed into prostitution, and the second is to help those who wish to leave prostitution.

Dutch officials are now studying the ‘Nordic Model’ – a set of laws that penalizes the demand for commercial sex while decriminalizing individuals who are prostituted. This model is based on an approach first adopted in Sweden in 1999, followed later by Norway and Iceland. The Nordic Model has two main goals: curb the demand for commercial sex that fuels sex trafficking and promote equality between men and women. The European Parliament’s Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee has approved a report that recommends the adoption of the ‘Nordic Model’ of anti-prostitution laws. The UK, South Korea, Ireland, Denmark, Latvia, and France have taken first steps toward the Nordic Model.


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