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Potential ban on visiting prostitutes considered20 February 2013, by Mark McDaid
The Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) is investigating the possibility of bringing in a ban on visiting prostitutes, in line with the Swedish model.
In Sweden anyone caught visiting a prostitute is at risk of a fine or even imprisonment and MP Myrthe Hilkens is to visit the Scandinavian country this week to see whether the ban would work in the Netherlands.
Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher had previously stated his appreciation of the Swedish policies during his time as Amsterdam's Alderman, and he is now working in conjunction with justice minister Ivo Opstelten on a proposal for a new approach in dealing with the county's sex industry.
Quoted in the AD, Myrthe Hilkens has stated that she will approach her visit with an open mind and that she believes prostitution to be one of the "major abuses in our time".
She goes on to say that between 50 and 80 percent of prostitutes are forced into the profession, whether by pimps or traffickers or due to a serious addiction and that she "feels responsible for these women."
This recent investigation comes at a time when the local and national governments are finding different methods with which to gain more control over the sex industry.
A proposal to raise the legal age for prostitution from 18 to 21 is currently in the pipeline and Amsterdam's Project 1012 is very much in motion.
Though the legalisation of prostitution in 2000 was meant to tackle many of the issues associated with the industry, concerns over inherent criminality has forced successive governments to impose further regulation.
Photo by Flickr user great_roe