During a parliamentary session, the Dutch government has clarified that it is legal for driving instructors to offer lessons in return for sex, as long as the students are over the age of 18.
However, it is illegal to offer sex in return for lessons.
Transport minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen and Justice minister Ard van der Steur addressed the issue in response to a question tabled in parliament by Gert-Jan Segers of the socially conservative Christian Union party. They noted that, although ‘undesirable’, offering driving lessons with sex as payment is not illegal.
The two ministers, in a letter to parliament said: “It’s not about offering sexual activities for remuneration, but offering a driving lesson. It is important that the initiative lies with the driving instructor, and focuses on offering a driving lesson, with the payment provided in sexual acts. When a sexual act offered in lieu of financial payment, that is prostitution.”
The question came about after it had been noted that web searches for driving lessons in exchange for sex, or, ‘a ride for a ride’ (as the practice has been dubbed), have recently increased in popularity in the Netherlands.
In the country where prostitution is legal, with sex-workers classed as self-employed, the Christian Union Party protested that the situation should be illegal as the (apparently entirely theoretical) learner drivers would not have an escort license, and would not be declaring the sexual services for tax purposes.
Prostitution in the Netherlands is legal, with prostitutes treated as self-employed persons, an can openly advertise their services in newspapers and on the internet. Street prostitution is permitted in managed zones, and brothels legal but subject to licensing – most prostitutes work in brothels.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Lodewijk Asscher, has called the legalisation of prostitution “a national mistake”.
Mr Asscher has spent millions of euros buying back window brothels, turning them into shops and restaurants in an effort to rid the city of the gangs that had moved in.