In 2000 the Dutch government lifted the ban on brothels, making prostitution a legal profession. By lifting the brothel ban, the government started professionalizing the sex industry in order to right existing wrongs like exploitation and trafficking of women, unsafe work environments and inaccessible healthcare. Sex workers had started organizing to claim their rights long before legalization. Both parties agreed on the rights prostitutes deserved: healthcare, equal treatment to any other professional and a safe work environment. However the policies intended to grant these rights are controversial. With the Dutch government and members of the sex industry often disagreeing, it is time to take a look at the end of the brothel ban and its effects and ask the question: Did the legalization of prostitution in The Netherlands have the desired results?

Prostitution is a prominent part of the street view of Amsterdam, yet to most people very little is known about what goes on behind these windows.To find out, click on the green window to discover the story of Dutch sex workers on their endeavor to be recognized as ‘normal professionals’.

Click on the blue window to find out about the Dutch government’s attempts to regulate the sex industry.

Click on the window outlined in red and watch unique footage of sex industry insiders sharing their experiences.

Homepage illustration: Maartje de Goede

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