Petition to criminalise prostitution in NL receives over 40.000 signatures
Over 40.000 people, especially youths, have signed a petition to make paying for sex a punishable act. The petition itself is an initiative of the Christian inspired youth movement Exxpose. The signatures collected from the “I am priceless” campaign will be handed over to parliament this week.
Bringing the issue of prostitution to the Dutch government
According to the leader of the initiative, Willemijn de Jong, “By making prostitution legal, the government is normalising paying for sex.” The youth movement also poses that the majority of young people in prostitution end up there due to financial emergencies. De Jong reasons that making purchasing sex illegal would mean that vulnerable woman can no longer be bought by “men with power and money”.
It has taken the movement six years to get the necessary 40.000 signatures to force parliament to debate the issue, and with it, they hope that the Netherlands decides to make paying for sex illegal, as it is in Sweden, Norway and France. In these countries, prostitutes are not punishable, however, those paying for sex are. Whether or not the signatures are enough for a debate to happen remains to be seen. They must first be checked to ensure they belong to eligible voters.
Dutch politicians divided
Dutch politicians are divided on the subject, with Christian Union leader Gert-Jan Segers an advocate of a stricter policy and Kees van der Staaij, head of the Reformed Political Party, happy with the appeal. D66 MP Achraf Bouali, however, disagrees, stating that “Criminalising sex work and prostitution is not the solution. We have to look at the cause of poverty and exploitation, and the reasons why people end up in prostitution against their will. This is what we need to address.”