Hi Dave, it’s a complex issue. I have a friend who works with sex-workers in Amsterdam (she’s in a support organization that works with the police & social services) and her take is that Amsterdam (and a couple of other cities) is suffering from the influx of Eastern European crime gangs. These gangs are bringing in young women, drugs, and small arms and causing problems across a wide range of domains including street assault and theft, burglary, protection rackets and much more. Meanwhile the actual Dutch prostitutes are, for the most part, happy with the results of decriminalization. They don’t have pimps any more, they have access to health services, etc. And in the Scandi countries that have relaxed their approach to prostitution, things seem to be even better as (at least so far) the crime gangs haven’t stepped in with their drugs & people-trafficking and weapons. So it’s a mixed picture and the Netherlands has recognized that the problem isn’t prostitution, it’s the ease with which Eastern European gangs can show up and operate.

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