Netherlands To Consider Banning Prostitution After 40,000 Sign Petition
Over 40,000 people have called for a ban on prostitution in the Netherlands, despite objection from the country's sex workers.
Led by a social media campaign - 'I Am Priceless' - the petition hit 42,000 signatures this week, meaning it's passed the 40,000 mark needed to be debated by politicians.
Prostitution has been legal in the country since 2000 but the petition, launched by Christian inspired protest group Exxpose, will now be heard by Dutch parliament.
Famous for its extensive red light district, the country's capital city Amsterdam has about 700 prostitutes working every day. The industry makes it a go-to for international sex tourism, where sex workers offer their services for around €50 (£43).
The legalisation of the sex trade in the country was brought in to make it safer, with brothels, pimping and prostitution all allowed. The idea behind it was that decriminalising the industry made it easier to regulate, which in turn would make it safer for all involved.
However, according to research conducted by Exxpose, the legalisation hasn't made it any safer for sex workers in the country. According to research on their website, 68 percent of people in the industry have had symptoms of PTSD, while 60 percent have been raped and 70 percent have experienced physical violence of some sort.
One of the members of the group behind the petition is social worker Sara Lous.
She told the BBC: "We are feminists and Christians and some of us are neutral.
"The idea is of course that the Netherlands has a safer policy, that decriminalising is safer and it's a freedom to sell sex.
"But so much is going wrong. we have so much human trafficking and Amsterdam is most vulnerable because of the high demand for cheap sex."
Many of the country's sex workers disagree with the petition though. They're concerned that their employment will be affected.
Proud, the sex workers' global union, believes it's a woman's right to do what she wants with her body - including use it to sell sex.
One woman, known only by the name Foxxy, told the BBC: "If this happens sex workers will work illegally. Then we're more likely to be victims of violence. Clients will know we can't go to the police.
"We will be much more at risk, clients will try to take condoms off, we're more at risk of being exposed to HIV."
In March, the government announced that tours of the Red Light District will be banned from 1 January 2020.
Featured Image Credit: PA