Published on Feb 4, 2013
Lover Boys (2013): When Holland legalised prostitution it was supposed to clean up the sex trade. But 13 years on, this report reveals the murky world that lies behind the windows and offers a damning indictment of the system.
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Behind the shiny windows, filled with young scantily-clad women, of Amsterdam's sex trade lies a murky world. It's one run by the so-called 'lover boys', who lure young girls into relationships only to groom, beat and brutalise them into selling themselves for sex. As Tom, who's in Amsterdam on a mission to recover his daughter Sonia who was groomed by sex traffickers, points out, legalisation has offered a gateway for criminals: "These people are the underworld: prostitution, drugs, trafficking. All the areas that you would not expect your daughter to be anywhere near." A private eye found her in a red light window in The Hague, selling sex against her will. She had managed to escape the clutches of the lover boys and escaped to a safe house, but confused and threatened, she returned. Cindy, one women at the safe house, explains the fear that keeps them in the men's clutches: "When you are raped in your room every 20 minutes, with a broken arm, then you know for sure what they can do". Tom wants to pull Sonia out of this world, but with her scared to testify against the men there's nothing he can do. Jacques, his private eye warns that any actions he takes himself are risky, "I sure hope for Tom he doesn't end with a bullet in his head in England."
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