Prostitution Bill Battered in Upper House
THE HAGUE, 10/07/13 - The Prostitution Bill received a battering in the Upper House on Tuesday as it was passed only partially. It will likely come into effect on 1 July 2014.
The minimum age for prostitutes is being raised from 18 to 21. There will also be stricter licence conditions for operators. But many parts of the bill have disappeared. For example, the registration requirement for prostitutes was stranded in the Upper House.
The plan was that every prostitute would be included in a register, following an intake interview. Utrecht municipality has already experimented with this and keenly hoped that the registration requirement would survive. But this did not happen.
Earlier, Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten had already scrapped the ‘ascertaining requirement’ for clients. That was to mean that clients should ascertain that the prostitute they were visiting was working legally. With the scrapping of this requirement means that the intended effect of making visiting illegal prostitutes a punishable offence also automatically disappears.
With the new act, there will be a national licensing system to which all municipalities must comply. This means in practice that an operator who has been turned down in Municipality A cannot just open up a business in Municipality B.
Prostitution was legalised in October 2000. This has led to an increase in exploitation and human trafficking.
Opstelten wants to include the wishes of the Upper House in the proposed bill and present eit to the cabinet in August and the Lower House in October. The Lower House had already passed the original Prostitution Bill in March 2011, but will now have to vote on the amended bill again.