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Amsterdam to tighten prostitution laws

Feb. 21, 2013 at 12:16 PM

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Amsterdam lawmakers say they are considering tightening the city's prostitution laws after the Netherlands failed to quickly enact reform on a national level.

New restrictions that the city council executive will discuss next week include raising the legal age to become a prostitute from 18 to 21 and introducing a language test, DutchNews.nl reported.

"A language test is important because it will not only enable the prostitute to speak to police and social workers but take care of herself in an emergency situation," a council spokesman told the Parool newspaper.

Prostitution was legalized in the Netherlands in 2000, but experts say this has not solved the many problems in the sex industry, including human trafficking.

The upper house of parliament is working on legislation would both require all prostitutes to register as sex workers and force clients to check whether the prostitute is registered or not. This legislation has been met with heavy criticism.

Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan wrote a letter to Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten urging him to enact the non-controversial aspects of the legislation.

"We need national rules as soon as possible to be able to combat people trafficking," Van der Laan said in his letter.

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