RealStars in Amsterdam

As a part of RealStars’ mission to reach people in different European countries. After Brussels, we visited a hotspot for prostitution: Amsterdam, where we met large anti-trafficking organizations like Fairwork, HVO Querido and Stop the Traffik.

During the meetings, it became clear quite early that the Dutch legislation is almost the exact opposite of the Swedish Sex Trade Law. The Swedish model considers prostitution to be an uneven (forced) relationship, but the Dutch model sees it as a legitimate profession. Their model claims to represent the traditional tolerance policy of the Netherlands, which also encourages rights for homosexuals, indulging different cultures and a relatively open policy regarding narcotics.

For example HVO Querido presents prostitutes as free individuals who choose this profession and can pick and choose their customers. They are considered as independent entrepreneurs and not victims. It is however questionable as to how many prostitutes really haven’t been forced into this profession for economic reasons or by pimps. Furthermore the normalization of prostitution has made it easier for victims of trafficking to blend into the enormous sex industry in Amsterdam. Amsterdam becomes an attractive market for human traffickers due to the fact that the Dutch model doesn’t focus on the demand.

Even though most of the people we met support prostitution as a profession, they also acknowledged that the Dutch model isn’t working completely, as there are still too many instances of trafficking and coercion. We were met with much interest for the Swedish model and how it works. RealStars are very pleased with the exchange of information and hope we have sown a seed containing the Swedish model in the organizations. We continue the fight to realize our vision of a Europe where there is no market for trafficking victims. And where the key to deal with the demand is to deal with the connection between prostitution and trafficking.

Margit de Boer and Malin Roux for Realstars