Prostitution exploits people overseas and in the U.S.


Photo credit: Jaime Munoz

When thinking of Amsterdam, thoughts usually race to its legalized and controlled substances.

Marijuana, and other mind-altering substances, are legal and easy to buy in The Netherlands.

However, what usually does not immediately come to mind, but is also legal throughout The Netherlands, is prostitution in the red-light district.

Prostitution has been legal since 1830 in The Netherlands and tourists from all around the world to visit the infamous red-light district, according to

Walking around the red-light district in Amsterdam is a culture shock because, in the U.S., prostitution is illegal.

The museum of prostitution, “Red Light Secrets,” shows that despite prostitution being legal, human trafficking and forced prostitution are still prominent issues.

Each floor in the museum tells the story of a different prostitute through their own narration. Many girls in the stories were controlled by their boyfriends or “Romeo pimps,” a man who plays the role of a “boyfriend” for a while before forcing his “girlfriend” to prostitute herself.

These problems are not prominent only overseas. In California, 1,331 human trafficking cases were reported in 2016, according to

Even though Chico, Sacramento and the rest of California don’t necessarily have designated red-light districts, human trafficking is still a huge problem. Some Chico State students have even fallen victim.

Since it’s not legal in California, law enforcement has certain departments dedicated to combating this illegal trade.

However, what do girls do in countries, like The Netherlands, where this is legal?

Nonprofit organizations have attempted to provide a safe space for victims to come forth, however, with it being legal, many victims stay in this profession because they see no escape.

For more information, Chico State’s human trafficking awareness club, STOP, talks about all forms of human trafficking and allies against it, including sex trafficking.

Legal or illegal, California or The Netherlands, prostitution has been around for thousands of years. Insidious individuals are everywhere, willing to exploit humans for their own benefit. It should not be legal.

Nicte Hernandez can be reached at [email protected] or @nicteh7 on Twitter.