Last weeks the Dutch city of Utrecht made national head lines because of a controversial decision to close so-called prostitution boats. Though prostitution is legal in the Netherlands, there is great concern about the fact that many prostitutes are victims of human traffickers. Ironically the problem has become worse after the legalisation of prostitution.
In order to combat the problem of forced prostitution, many Dutch cities are revoking the licenses of brothel owners they suspect of human trafficking. Consequently, many prostitutes are losing their work places, including those who have entered this job voluntarily. It’s important that the bad pimps and their criminal associates are prosecuted, but in the way things currently work, the voluntary prostitutes (and their clients) are victimized.
Since the sole brothel owner in Utrecht has lost its license, there are no brothels left in the city. Some of the prostitutes who has lost their work place, have come up with the plan to start a cooperative of prostitutes. This cooperative would take over the brothel and the prostitutes themselves would run it. In this way the prostitutes are no longer depended on the services of a pimp.
Several people involved in this issue (e.g. mayors, district attorneys, prostitutes themselves) are calling for a mandatory registration of prostitutes. Only those who voluntary enter this particular trade, can be registered. When a client seeks the services of a prostitute (s)he is obliged to ask for the prostitute’s registration card.
Considering that prostitution will not disappear any time soon, and will likely also exist in future space settlements, I would propose the following system:
1. It will be prohibited to buy sexual services, unless from a registered sex-worker;
2. All sex-workers have to be registered by the authorities;
3. In order to be registered as a sex-worker, a person must be:
a. at least 21 years of age
b. be a citizen or permanent resident
c. a member a sex-worker cooperative.
This system would prevent most abuse in the sex-industry, whilst respecting people who voluntarily enter this branch.