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The Netherlands is famous for a lot of things: tulips , cheese , canals, beautiful canal houses, world-class dikes, coffee shops , and of course, the legal status of prostitution in the low country. Yes, prostitution is legal in the Netherlands as long as it concerns voluntary sex between adults. In April , a Christian youth organization called Exxpose presented a petition to the Dutch Lower House to criminalise prostitution.
But their stated intentions also raise questions: is placing a ban on prostitution truly going to make women safer? And does such a ban truly stop the patronization of prostitutes? The Christian youth association wants a debate on the floor of the Lower House about the issue. The idea that there must be love in order for sexual intercourse between two consenting adults to take place is both naive and misleading. Furthermore, evidence gathered from different European countries that have adopted the Nordic model presents serious reservations about the so-called Nordic model.
The debate is now happening in all sorts of places. Legalizing sexwork means the sex trade is still subject to very tight legal restrictions, such as where one can work. Decriminalisation removes all legal restrictions around sex work and means sex workers are afforded the same rights and protections as all other workers. But their claims are usually based on incorrect assumptions and estimates.
They have neither done extensive research nor used data from interest groups to support their claims on the matter. Exxpose wants the Netherlands to introduce a model where buying sex is a punishable offence. A similar model has also been introduced in Norway. In this so-called Nordic model, prostitutes are not punished when caught selling sex, instead, they are offered alternative means of employment and a way out of the world of prostitution.
The questions still remain, how realistic and effective is this model? In response to the 40, signatures gathered by Exxpose, PROUD Netherlands , an interest group for sex workers, demonstrated on the streets of Amsterdam. The members were furious because adopting the Nordic model would not only take away their source of income but also make their work unsafe. In Ireland, where this model was recently introduced, violence against sex workers has doubled in the past year.