Other types of sexual abuse
In the context of sexual violence against children, ‘grooming’ is an English term that means charming or seducing a child for sexual purposes. In Dutch criminal law, the term has a more specific meaning. Grooming is defined as the situation where an adult proposes a meeting with a child, whom he knows or suspects is under the age of sixteen, with the intention of having sex with the child or making pornographic images of the child (see also child pornography). Under Dutch criminal law, this only applies if the adult’s intention is to meet the child in person, not online. A further requirement for the commission of this crime is that the adult must undertake specific actions to realise the encounter, for example by buying a train ticket for the child.
Naturally, having sex with a child for payment is a form of sexual violence against children. In principle, sex with children under the age of sixteen is always punishable as sexual abuse, regardless of whether or not the sex is paid for. Children up to the age of sixteen are protected by the ‘regular’ articles in the Dutch Criminal Code relating to indecent acts. The criminal law also offers protection for children aged between sixteen and eighteen. By virtue of Article 248b DCC, it is a criminal offence for a person to have sex with a child between these ages who has made him- or herself available to perform sexual acts for payment. For the purposes of the law, it is irrelevant whether the child is forced to have sex or does so voluntarily. The person who pays a child for sex is always committing an offence.
Paid sex with children is also referred to as ‘child prostitution’. It is important to note here that having paid sex with minors is always illegal and has nothing (and should not have anything) to do with the policy on legalised and regulated prostitution in the Netherlands.
The client who pays for sex with a minor is committing a criminal offence. Sex with a child for payment can also involve human trafficking (in which case we refer to sexual exploitation). In that case, the person who exploits the child and offers his or her sexual services is punishable.