//Dutch army should take prostitutes abroad – mayor

Dutch army should take prostitutes abroad – mayor

Mon Oct 23, 2006

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – A Dutch mayoress has raised eyebrows by backing the idea of sending prostitutes to accompany Dutch troops on foreign missions.

"The army must consider ways its soldiers can let off steam," Annemarie Jorritsma, mayor of the town of Almere in central Netherlands and a member of the ruling VVD liberals, told Dutch television.

"There was once the suggestion that a few prostitutes should accompany troops on missions. I think that is something we should talk about," she said, adding that the prostitutes would keep soldiers from turning to local women.

Her comments have drawn a mixed response in the Netherlands, renowned for its liberal prostitution laws.

"I don't think my wife would find it a good idea," Wim van den Burg, a spokesman for the military service trade union told Dutch newspaper Volkskrant on Monday.

Andre van Dorst of sex industry organisation VER told the same paper: "I can see something in this, though it's a very strange idea."

The Netherlands has more than 2,000 soldiers serving abroad, most of them in Afghanistan as part of a NATO peacekeeping force, and in Bosnia.