The Failure of Legalizing Prostitution in The Netherlands

In 2000 the Dutch lifted the ban of brothel-keeping and by doing so they legalized prostitution. The intentions were good: improve conditions for women in prostitution and combat human trafficking. Almost twenty years later, the Dutch have to admit their policy, which they deemed progressive and pragmatic, has totally failed. As the mayor of Amsterdam admitted lately: the situation in the red light district of Amsterdam has become untenable. Renate van der Zee will explain why the Dutch thought the legalization of prostitution a good idea, why it has failed, and to what consequences.

Renate van der Zee is a Dutch feminist journalist and writer with a focus on prostitution and human trafficking. She has done extensive research and has written several books on the Dutch sex industry. Her stance is that the legalization of prostitution in The Netherlands has not only failed to improve conditions for women in prostitution but has helped to create a market where international networks of human traffickers exploit vulnerable women from poor countries who are bought by men who justify themselves by claiming that what they do is legal.

This presentation was given at the 2019 Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation Global Summit.

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