Policy Change in Prostitution in the Netherlands: from Legalisation to Strict Control

Joyce Outshoorn

This article looks at how legalisation came to the netherlands; what it was intended to do, and what the impact has been on sex workers. In order to answer these lines of enquiry, the article examines what discourses frame the major actors in this debate, starting with a historical overview of Dutch sex work policies throughout the 20th century. Having established the socio-political backdrop of the Netherlands' approach to legalised sex work, the resource discusses how legalisation (or regulationism) "did not solve a number of serious problems in the sex industry".

In particular, it notes the creating a two-tier system of legalisation leaves in place a subsector of still-illegal workers, whose illegality - whether through their status as undocumented migrants, underage workers, or a variety of other factors - leaves them vulnerable to exploitation, or police or client violence, while regulationism does little to ensure the rights and tackle the stigma faced even by those workers who can work legally. These problems persist throughout attempts to amend the law.

You can download this 11 page PDF resource above.

This resource is in English.