Back to blog

Changing Tides in the Netherlands

In March of this year, we chose Amsterdam in the Netherlands as our city in focus. We have been monitoring this region carefully and have received news of powerful testimony in Utrecht, a city only 45 minutes away from Amsterdam.

The purchase of sex is a legal activity in the Netherlands. The use of brothels was prohibited until 2000 when they were legalized in an attempt to better monitor prostitution and prevent sex trafficking.This action has been disastrous. Instead of curbing the sex trade as intended, trafficking has increased. In an effort to stop illegal trafficking in Utrecht, Mayor Aleid Wolfsen has intensified efforts against area brothels and prostitution rings. According to a local health-inspection agency, one in eight prostituted women in Utrecht shows signs of being a victim of trafficking.

On April 15, more than 35 floating brothels were shut down along the Zandpad, a red-light district bordering the Vecht River in Utrecht. Two “sex boat” owners had their licenses revoked when they were found guilty of human trafficking. Tragically, a group of six women disappeared after the boats were closed, and authorities are concerned that they will be trafficked into another city.

Later in April, two additional operators had their licenses revoked resulting in the closure of six more boats. During this investigation, letters were given to the women in several different languages telling them how and where to get help. Altogether, 48 women were found among the boats.

In a positive development, Mayor Wolfsen has stated that he wants all 98 “windows” from which women are sold on the Zandpad, along with the 17 “windows” on nearby Hardenbollen Street, to be closed.

We want to thank all of you who have been praying for freedom in the Netherlands. The closures of these boats and the Mayor’s efforts to fight sex trafficking are wonderful answers to the collective prayers of all who join us in the fight. While we are thankful that God is moving in the city of Utrecht, the disappearance of the six young women is a devastating development. We must continue to pray that these six young women–human beings who each have a name, a life, and dreams for the future–will be delivered from bondage.

We are excited to witness the way God is moving among the nations through the concerted prayers of his people. We must always remember when an operation is closed down, the victims are not immediately free. Often they get moved to other locations where the abuse continues. Keep praying for the liberation of these victims, for freedom for their bodies and their souls. Again, we are grateful for your prayerful support in abolishing sex slavery in all nations. We’re doing it together in partnership with God. We see him faithfully answering our prayers!