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Some criminals offer money to sex workers to get the phone numbers of those who go to them regularly, and then ask them for a thousand euros not to make their habits public.

Some criminal gangs have been carrying out a scam in the Netherlands, blackmailing the clients of prostitutes. Sex workers are offered money to get the phone numbers of their regular customers, and then the latter are contacted via WhatsApp telling them that if they do not pay up to a thousand euros, their sexual activities will be made public. Dutch police are investigating the allegations and have appealed for blackmailers to come forward. “We know victims are reluctant to do so because of the sensitivity of the issue,” a police spokesman said.

Up to 25,000 sex workers work in the Netherlands, and nine out of ten are women. An investigation by the KRO-NCRV television channel reported that victims were sent a message saying: “Listen, man, I’ll only tell you once now. Stop Sexjobs”, with a request for payment in cryptocurrencies. A prostitute said she, like many of her colleagues, had been offered 300 euros for the names and numbers of their clients. “I would never do that,” said one of them, but she said she knows “colleagues with thousands of euros in rent arrears,” and they “may decide to make choices that are not very good.”

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