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Government to enhance registration requirements for sex trade

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

THE HAGUE – The Dutch government wants to firm up its framework law that legalized prostitution in 2000. All forms of the sex trade will need to register in the future. At the time the ‘paarse, non-confessional’ Labour-led cabinet coalition (which included two liberal parties) hoped that by legalizing the illicit sex trade the authorities would gain a better control of it. This has not happened. Eight years later, the issue is being revisited because significant issues have arisen or remain. The abuses in the trade, which largely remains illicit, include exploitation, coercion, and slavery of women. To force the sex trade out into the public square, the law compelled all municipalities to license qualified brothels and other such places. Municipalities, which refuse licenses under the so-called nil-option, must have well-documented and ironclad reasons for such decisions. Moral and religious opposition may not play a role in refusal, says Minister Elsje ter Horst (Labour), of Internal Affairs. Licenses for these businesses may be rejected only for reasons of public order, safety, public health and zoning. Independent prostitutes must be allowed however. A move to outlaw juvenile prostitution failed to garner majority support in the Second Chamber because it is feared that this would make it harder for juveniles to escape slavery and coerced exploitation.