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Number of prostitutes in The Netherlands

It is unknown how many prostitutes there are in The Netherlands. Prostitutes are not obligated to register themselves, as such would be a violation of privacy rights. Estimates about how many prostitutes work in The Netherlands vary greatly from 10.000 to even 30.000 without any indication how realistic these estimations are.

Research done among municipalities asked them to estimate how many prostitutes there where working according to them in their own towns and/or villages. In total they estimated there to be at least 10.500 prostitutes working in The Netherlands, the majority of those working licensed.

Source: WODC research 2014, Dutch Ministry of Justice and Safety

Research done by the Dutch government however uncovered there to be 8.685 unique phone numbers advertising online in one single day, in an attempt to make an estimation as to how many illegal working prostitutes there are in The Netherlands. The unique numbers combine both licensed businesses, unlicensed businesses and illegal working prostitutes, but it is unknown how many of each. 

Still the number of unique phone numbers found in one day far outweighs the number of licensed businesses usually advertising online, as well as unlicensed and estimated illegal working prostitutes by Dutch municipalities.

Source: WODC research 2014, Dutch Ministry of Justice and Safety

Combining both the estimated amount of working prostitutes by Dutch municipalities with the remaining unique phone numbers used to advertise online for prostitution, which could indicate a more realistic estimation to the number of prostitutes working in The Netherlands. 

The result of this demonstrates the largest group of prostitutes working illegal, and another large group working licensed. Only a small group works unlicensed but legal. The total estimate of this would come down to around 17.000 prostitutes working in The Netherlands.

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