It's a dark day for feathered caps, canes and high-heeled shoes: Dutch parliament has approved a motion that would ban pimping.
Of course, prostitution has been legal in the Netherlands since 2000, and tolerated since donkey's years, but forced prostitution has always been illegal.
So you'd think there'd be no need to add a law specifying that pimping in *that* sense is illegal.
But take the next logical step: prostitutes often work in brothels for various reasons, including increased safety and vetting of customers _ and it's a slippery slope from paying for "protection" to ending up under the control of the brothel owner.
And a recent government study found that neither the street pimp problem nor forced prostitution has been reduced by legalization.
So, the justice minister Ernst Hirch Ballin is going to research whether there's anything to be done to crack down on pimps.
Hirsch Ballin's predecessor, Piet Hein Donner (now the Social Affairs Minister), was a very unquotable guy, but he had one great moment.
Dutch media started using the English-inspired word "loverboys" to describe a group of young men in Rotterdam who would woo teenage girls with fast cars, jewelry, etc., and later force them into prostitution.
So there was a parliamentary debate where all the MPs were going on and on about the problems posed by "loverboys." This was back in about 2004 I believe. Donner was listening patiently and finally he asked "am I missing something here, or are we just talking about pimps?"
One final word on pimps.
A city council member for Labor (think: the Democrats) in Nijmegen, Paul Depla, is in hot water right now after website GeenStijl published a story titled
"PvdA-wethouder oraal bevredigd in fietsenhok"
"Labor Councilman Orally Satisfied In Bike Cage"
I wish there was some way to do justice to the Dutch word 'fietsenhok' _ it summons up the image of a rainy parking lot for bikes, with a corrugated tin roof, with puddles and wind and graffiti and a few French fries wrappers scattered around with mayonnaise still on them.
"Now, there's a clear headline for once," GeenStijl wrote. It's a little bit inside baseball from then on, but here's just a taste.
"In Havanna on-the-Waal they would rather have kept this quiet, but we like transparency, even in politics...The incident occured recently after a council meeting. After a no-doubt heated debate Depla retired with the only female member of the VVD (Republican) faction to re-evaluate the evening in their own special way."
Depla, married with children, had been tapped as a future top leader for Labor. The woman who is said to have blown him has resigned (no reason given). Depla takes the line Bill Clinton didn't: that there is simply no need to address allegations about his sex life.
Unfortunately, in the real world, when a rumor is this widespread, a politician either has to deny it or everybody assumes it's true.
Clinton, Depla: I feel your pain _ even politicians should have some privacy. However, considering the duty you bear to the people you represent, you should also weigh the merits of keeping your dick in your pants while you hold public office.
(the actual fietsenhok, photograph by Trouw)
Wednesday, November 28, 2007