I highly recommend this documentary, particularly for people in government who may touch on the social policy file, however remotely. We are in the midst of facing the threat of legalized prostitution, and I’d say this documentary cuts through the “choice rhetoric” of legalized prostitution quite nicely. It is very disturbing but I personally believe it’s best not to pave over these issues and pretend they don’t exist. Human trafficking, forced prostitution and “regular” prostitution are all branches of the same tree and they are happening all around us.
There are many scenes that leave a big impact. One for me was the tour of a legal, safe brothel in Amsterdam and the interview with the owner who “found it strange” 20 years ago when he started, but apparently has gotten used to selling human flesh now. “Here’s the panic button,” (well done on heeding the legal requirements) and “here’s where the man can wash up, and here’s where the woman can wash up” (thank you again, legalization, for making sure these places are “spic and span.” On a side note, I’ve read documents outlining what legal prostitution must look like in New Zealand and considering you are reading about the sale of human bodies, the admonitions not to smoke in legalized brothels are quite funny… Sex with many multiple strangers, every day, all day=AOK. Smoking, however, carries terrible health risks.) Back to Amsterdam: “We put clean sheets here…” He thinks the women are working there “because they need the money.”
You’ve heard the phrase that all it takes for evil to persist is for good men to do nothing, but sometimes it takes a good man, bit by bit being drawn into an evil industry by the promise of money, while maintaining a veneer of civility. Evil doesn’t always wear horns, sometimes it looks like a mild-mannered, polite Dutchman, making sure the sheets are clean and the panic button works.
Incidentally, since I believe each human heart is capable of evil, I also think he could be redeemed from this life he has chosen. And the end of the movie features many such individuals, including one guy who had trafficked women. It also features the redemption stories of prostitutes, both those who were forced into it and those who went in “freely” (result of sexual abuse in their childhoods).