Many European countries have given legal status to prostitution. In fact, one of the leading airports of the continent even had a well-brandished entry to a red-light area. The Netherlands is one of those 'liberal' nations which had legalized the world's oldest profession. But now, a prominent voice has risen, asking for legal sanction to be withdrawn from paid sex.
This voice is of a conservative Christian party that is a member of the country's ruling coalition. The Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) has moved a motion in the lower house of the nation's parliament calling for criminalizing prostitution. The motion is slated to be debated this week itself. The impetus for this proposal came through a Christian youth organization that was able to collect 50,000 signatures in support of it.
Arguments for banning
Interestingly, despite its name and ideological leanings, the CDA is using arguments that have less to do with religious morality and more with notions of gender inequality. One of the MPs of the party, Anne Kuik, who was the one to officially submit the proposal before the parliament, pointed out the demeaning aspect of prostitution towards women.
"Most prostitutes would not actually want to have sex with the man in front of them. But it still happens, because it is paid... So, consent is bought, the woman is a product. That is no longer possible in these modern times," she told a local newspaper.
"Ask anyone if they would want their daughter to be a sex worker and they'll say no. But we're allowing young women from Europe's poorer countries to do the job without compunction. That is hypocritical," Kuik further added, in the process pointing out the relation between the sex business and poverty.
However, the road to banning prostitution seems very tough to traverse. Two parties who are also part of the ruling coalition, People's Party for Freedom and Democracy and Democrats 66, seem to be, as per media reports, against this proposal. Their argument in favour of supporting the status quo is not social libertarianism but practicality.
The two parties believe, as do many others, that criminalizing prostitution will only remove governmental oversight from the business but would not end the problem. They believe it will be similar to how the banning of booze in America led to a massive underground business but didn't curb alcoholism.