Anyone who has ever been to Amsterdam knows its reputation as a party city. Both brothels and marijuana are legal, and, at any given time, the streets are filled with stag parties looking for a good time.

The red-light district is in Amsterdam’s city center, and most tourists and even day-trippers will pass by the large front-facing windows with scantily-clad women in them.
Sex shops and brothels litter the streets while everyone from children to the elderly walks past as if nothing is out of the ordinary.

And nothing is out of the ordinary. Prostitution has been legal there since 2000, and most locals adhere to the myth of the “happy sex worker”. These “window women” can earn up to $485 dollars a day and are seen as having a respectable job like any other person.
However, all may not be as it appears and the sex work industry is known to be involved in some seedy and criminal activities. Multiple sex trafficking trials have filled the Dutch courts, revealing the truth behind the so-called “happy sex worker”.

Most of these girls in the windows have been brought from Eastern European countries by abusive pimps and have been sold into the profession. Their pimps keep most of their money, and they often have tales of forced abortions, rape, coerced cosmetic surgery, and beatings.

Now, a growing number of locals and politicians are protesting against the brothels, saying that they are no more than “commercialized rape”. A new law is expected to come forward next year, making sex with a prostitute who is suspected of being trafficked punishable by four years behind bars.
But is this enough and how will it be enforced?

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