Publication - 22 Apr 2019

Märkische Allgemeine

Märkische Allgemeine about the citizens’ initiative for a ban on prostitution

On Aprilnd, the Märkische Allgemeine published an article about the recently submitted citizens’ initiative calling for a ban on prostitution in the Netherlands. Owner Marike of our high class escortservice explains in the article her objections to a ban on prostitution. The article was also published online by Märkischen Allgemeinen and Hetzel Media. The original article was in German, but a translation can be found below.

The new prudery in Holland: young Dutch people want to ban prostitution

The Exxpose initiative has brought together young Dutch people – collecting more than 40,000 signatures against sex work. They have now filed in Parliament and hope for a political debate.

The Hague: “I’m priceless.” Under this motto, Dutch youths founded a citizens’ initiative called Exxpose. Its aim is to punish sex for payment and to ban prostitution in the Netherlands. The citizens’ initiative against legal prostitution in the Netherlands has meanwhile collected 40,000 signatures and they have been submitted to the Hague Parliament. There they are now examining whether the petition is sufficient for a political debate in the parliament.

Initiative against prostitution consists of feminists and Christians

The citizen initiative Exxpose consists mainly of feminists and strictly Calvinist Christians between 20 and 30 years. “By legalizing prostitution, the state normalizes the purchasability of sex,” says Willemijn de Jong, 27, an initiator of the Citizens’ Initiative. “We want to see the topic of prostitution discussed in parliament.” De Jong says that the citizens’ initiative was inspired by Al Jazeera. The Arab news broadcaster had sharply criticized the legal prostitution in the Netherlands in a report, especially in the world-famous Amsterdam red light district. Called by Dutchmen “De Wallen”, the district is one of the largest tourist attractions in the Dutch capital.

Different reactions to demanded prohibition of prostitution

The reactions to the action of the Citizens’ Initiative Exxpose vary. While some are in favor of the legality of prostitution, and if this is banned, they are only worried about a flight into illegality, others support the young people in their quest to abolish prostitution. Marike van der Velden, director of the escortservice Society Service, belongs to the first group: “Now sex workers can do their job under good conditions. Not only in my company. It’s not so easy to start an escortservice. You need a permit for that. But this permit is only obtained after a thorough examination by the responsible state authorities. This is the so-called “Bibob test”. It checks whether the claimant is of integrity.” She explains that escortservices are regularly audited by government agencies. “This helps to avoid abuse in the industry and protects sex workers.”

Opponents fear “Flight into illegality”

In addition, the sex workers received a large supply of government aid that they could request if necessary. “If all that went away, it would be very detrimental to the sex workers, who would most likely be forced into illegality.” She believes a ban on prostitution would only reduce the number of “visible” sex workers, but not the number of those who continue to practice “the oldest profession in the world” – only then it’s illegal. In her escortservice customers can book both women and men.

Politician of Christen-Union advocates prohibition of prostitution

The chairman of the The Hague Coalition co-governing the Christian Union (CU) Gert-Jan Segers, on the other hand, welcomes the initiative to ban prostitution. On the initiative of the CU, a new law has already been passed in the Netherlands prohibiting pimping. “This is a step in the right direction,” says the initiator of the initiative, de Jong. She intends to impose the introduction of the “Swedish model” in the Netherlands: she wants to punish the visit of a female prostitute by a client, as is already the case in Sweden. The prostitution of men is left out of the discussion. However, this is also a flourishing business, according to Van der Velden.

“Fighting causes of prostitution such as poverty and exploitation”

“The criminalization of prostitution is not a solution,” says Achraf Bouali, a member of the left-liberal party Democrats ’66, which is also co-governing in The Hague. “We have to fight the causes of prostitution like poverty and exploitation.” A ban would not help.

The new prudery in Holland

The citizens’ initiative “Exxpose” is also an expression of a new prudery, which is spreading in the Netherlands more and more. The once so tolerant, cosmopolitan and soft Holland has changed enormously over the past two decades. Dutch society has become more conservative, more closed and harder. There is a strong polarization between left and right. The once large popular parties such as the Christian Democrats (CDA) and the Social Democratic Workers Party (PvdA) have become splinter parties. The new prudery is rampant, especially among young people in the Netherlands. Thus, teachers report that students do not want to take a shower together after sporting together, even though boys and girls are showering separately already. The boys are showering with their boxer shorts on more often, the girls keep their briefs on. They do not want to show themselves naked to their classmates.

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