Sex workers in the Netherlands must be at least 21 years old and carry a pass with their photo and a special registration
number, says a law amendment just filed in parliament.
People of 21 are better able than people of 18 to make a well-considered decision about whether or not to work as a prostitute, caretaker injustice minister Hirsch Ballin, who submitted the amendment, said in a statement: They are better
able to deal and negotiate with clients. They are more likely to have some further education and thus be less economically dependent on prostitution work.
The amendment, yet to be adopted by parliament, will compel prostitutes to enrol on a national register and to have an entry interview on the risks of the job and alternatives, said the statement.
Registered prostitutes will receive a pass with a profile photograph and registration number, which will enable clients to control that they are using the services of a legal practitioner. Under the current law, only brothel owners and other prostitute
handlers require authorisation
Update: Further Details of the registration scheme
17th April 2010. See Ministry of Injustice press
, Thanks to Donald
Prostitutes have to be at least 21 years of age. This is Minister Hirsch Ballin's (the Interior and Kingdom Relations, Justice) proposal to the Lower House in an amendment to the legislative proposal already before the Lower
House concerning the regulation of prostitution and sex businesses. Persons aged 21 are better able to make a well-considered decision about working as a prostitute than people aged 18; they are also more resilient as regards handling and negotiating
with clients. Moreover, they will more often have finished an education and therefore economically less dependent on work in prostitution. Municipalities will have to conduct a substantive interview with each prostitute at the time of their registration
or extension thereof.
Initially, the Dutch government chose an age limit of 18, in view of the risk that prostitutes aged between 18 and 21 would disappear into illegality. Minister Hirsch Ballin wants to combat this with strict checks and making
illegal prostitutes, operators and their clients punishable.
Prostitutes will have to register in a national register. Upon registration, an interview has to be conducted with each prostitute concerning the risks of the business, health care and assistance, social security, insurance
and possibilities to leave the world of prostitution. During such an interview, any abuses can be discussed and forwarded to the police and welfare services. Registration will only be possible in 25 to 35 larger communities throughout the Netherlands
in view of the fact that conducting this type of interview requires the necessary expertise on the part of the civil servants. Registered prostitutes will receive a pass with their picture and registration number (but without their name). Clients have
to check whether they are dealing with a legal prostitute by means of the pass. It is the intention that clients can establish via the Internet whether the registration number advertised by the prostitute actually exists.
There is a taboo on prostitution although it is legal in the Netherlands. Anonymity and privacy are therefore very important for prostitutes. Only a small number of supervision officials and the police will have access to
the national register of prostitutes. The register will also not be linked to other IT systems (such as the Tax and Customs Administration). The details of prostitutes who retire are immediately removed from the register.
Brothels and other sex businesses (clubs, escort services, sex cinemas, massage parlours) are required to have a licence. Municipalities determine via licences where and how many brothels or other sex businesses there will
be. As regards brothels and escort companies, a municipality can elect not to allow any company, the so-called zero option. The municipality does need to have supportive arguments for choosing this option that are related to public order, safety or
public health. Moral arguments should not play a role.
The licences for prostitution companies will include conditions on health, safety and the right to self-determination of prostitutes. This will strengthen their position. Prostitution companies will require a permanent address
with a fixed telephone line for a licence. The licences of escort services will be entered in a national registers which will create supervision of this part of the industry.
Clients who make use of illegal prostitution will become punishable because they maintain a type of prostitution where forms of abuse and exploitation can easily occur. The prohibition on the operation of a prostitution company
without a licence and registration duty for prostitution creates a clear division between legal and illegal prostitution. That division is also recognisable for clients.
The act is intended to regulate the prostitution industry, not to obstruct the legal part of the industry. The new act is also intended to make a contribution to combating abuses such as coercion, abuse and human trafficking.
Punishment of violations
- Prostitute without registration or working in a brothel without a licence: A fine of at most 380 euros *
- Clients who visit unregistered prostitutes or unlicensed brothels: A fine of at most 7,600 euros or a term of imprisonment of at most 6 months *
- Sex business without a licence or violation of the statutory rules: A fine of at most 18,500 euros or a term of imprisonment of at most two years
8th February 2011. See article
Government plans to introduce a special register of prostitutes are running into trouble in parliament, with MPs from the ruling right-wing VVD also having doubts, news agency ANP reports.
In particular, MPs say there are legal questions over the privacy of prostitutes and fears that it will drive them into the illegal sector. VVD MPs are also concerned about the cost of the registration system and regulation, ANP said.