Petition to criminalise buying sex in Netherlands handed to government | Raw Politics

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By Celeste Williams
Petition to criminalise buying sex in Netherlands handed to government | Raw Politics

A petition to criminalise the purchase of sexual services in the Netherlands has been delivered to Dutch lawmakers with over 40,000 signatures.

Natasja Bos, one of the co-founders of NGO Exxpose, who put forward the petition, joined the Raw Politics team via Skype on Thursday to discuss the issue.

“We were trying to tell people what is really happening in prostitution because a lot of Dutch people think it is all really happy people choosing to sell sex. But the reality is that a lot of them are trapped in human trafficking.”

The legal framework proposed in the petition is based on a Swedish model in which those purchasing sex are penalised rather than sex workers themselves.

Teresa Küchler, a journalist with Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, told the Raw Politics panel that one of the primary motives behind the Swedish model is the ideological belief that “intimacy and women's bodies should not be commodities”.

Conservative Belgian politician Gilles Verstraeten added that the morally-sensitive nature of this issue has brought forth support from an unlikely coalition.

“You get this sort of unholy alliance almost between, on the one hand, progressive feminists and on the other hand, probably deeply conservative Christians who want to ban prostitution for different reasons.”

The campaign has not been well received by all Dutch sex workers, with some arguing that it takes away freedom from women who choose the line of work.

"We don't want to legalise prostitution and the cycle of abuse and violence that is actually taking place in prostitution because of a couple of people who say 'I really want to do that'," Bos said in response.