The Prostitution Information Centre (or PIC) was founded in August 1994 by Mariska Majoor, who had formerly worked as a prostitute.
The PIC does not receive any subsidies and provides information about prostitution in the broadest sense of the word to anyone requiring this. People who have questions regarding prostitution can approach PIC (located in the middle of the Red Light District). PIC can answer almost all of their questions or refer them to other organizations. Tourists, sexworkers, their customers and students – everyone is welcome.
PIC’s goal is to make it easier for people in general to talk openly about sex work and to create public respect for sex workers (a word used increasingly frequently rather than “prostitutes”).
So far, more than 300,000 people have visited PIC. In addition to conversations at a personal level, PIC communicates with its target audience via the media. The most important groups of people PIC addresses are tourists and students. PIC also focuses on sex workers and their customers through various projects.
The idea behind PIC
Prostitution has existed for as long as humankind and will never disappear. It is one way in which many people earn money. Everyone has their own opinion on the subject. These personal opinions should be respected because they are connected with how a person views sexuality as a whole. At PIC, we see nothing wrong with sex work, provided that it is the free choice of the persons involved. Coerced sex or sex with someone who is incapable of making a free choice is always wrong.
The legalization of prostitution is a necessity. In a situation in which prostitution is legal, regulations can be enacted to make sex work safer. It is also easier for sex workers to demand their legal rights, good working conditions and to tackle problems such as human trafficking. In many countries, prostitution is illegal. This means that the men and women have reason to fear the authorities and are thus forced to work in very dangerous and unhygienic conditions. In these countries, sexworkers are regarded as criminals.
The fact that many people object to prostitution is due to religious moral views regarding sex and the fact that prostitution is often associated with human trafficking and drug addiction. Unfortunately, we hear too little from people who have few problems with working in the sex industry. This is due to many sex workers leading a double life and wanting to avoid being scorned by those around them.
Unfortunately, problems such as forced prostitution do exist. This is why it is important for the government to create a good legal framework and also that we learn to respect rather judge others.
Most tourists who visit the Red Light District come from countries where prostitution is illegal. Tourists from within the Netherlands often come from areas in which prostitution is less openly present. We understand that many people walk through the Red Light District with wide eyes and many questions. There is no need to wonder, you can just pop in at the PIC for an answer.
PIC does not receive any subsidies and relies on its own income in order to survive. For this reason, we tell visitors about our “donation pot” after answering their questions. Of course, visitors can be kind enough to think of this possibility themselves.
Mural painting in PIC
Mariska’s father, Jaap Majoor, painted the mural in PIC as well as various other paintings and drawings of window prostitutes. Some of his (other) work can be seen on his website: www.jaapmajoor.nl