Fifteen years lifting of the ban on brothels

The struggle of policy makers between sex workers as agents or victims

Authored by: Marjan Wijers

Routledge Handbook of Human Trafficking

Print publication date:  September  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138892064
eBook ISBN: 9781315709352
Adobe ISBN:


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On 1 October 2000, the Netherlands decriminalised the sex industry by lifting the general ban on brothels in the Criminal Code (CC). Since then, the Dutch Penal Code no longer treats organising the prostitution of adult persons as a crime – provided it is done with the consent of the sex worker. It is legal to operate a sex business when it takes place on a consensual basis and involves persons above 18 years of age. 1 There was no new national prostitution law: regulation of the sex industry was left to the municipalities through the introduction of local licensing systems.

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