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Officials in the Netherlands say driving instructors can offer lessons in exchange for sex

Issue was raised in Dutch parliament when opposition politician called for ban

Ministers say transaction must be initiated by teacher and both parties must be at least 18

CNN  — 

It brings a whole new meaning to the expression “going Dutch.”

Government ministers in the Netherlands have confirmed that it is legal for driving instructors to offer lessons in exchange for sex.

Prostitution is legal and regulated in the country, where sex workers are considered “self-employed” and can openly advertise in newspapers and online.

The Dutch government tackled the issue head on after Gert-Jan Segers, of the socially conservative opposition party ChristenUnie (Christian Union), tabled a question in parliament in November.

Segers described such transactions as “illegal prostitution” and called for them to be banned. He argued that student drivers would not have the requisite escort license, and so would not be declaring any sexual acts for tax purposes.

But Melanie Schultz van Haegen, the country’s minister of infrastructure and the environment, and Security and Justice Minister Ard van der Steur said that while the practice – widely dubbed “ride for a ride” – may be “undesirable,” it is not against the law, provided both parties are over 18 and the instructor suggests it.

They said that if the transaction were reversed, with students proposing “personal services” in return for lessons, then this would be unlawful.

“It’s not about offering sexual activities for payment, but offering a driving lesson,” the two ministers said in a letter sent to parliament on December 8.

“It is important that the initiative lies with the driving instructor, and focuses on offering lessons, with the payment provided in sexual acts.

“When a sexual act is offered as a commercial business, that is prostitution.”

Sentina van der Meer, a press officer for the Ministry of Security and Justice, told CNN: “It is important to know that it is not known as a common phenomenon.”

However, little data is publicly available, and a recent investigation by Rotterdam police into so-called “sex exchanges” has not been published.

Read more: Canada changes prostitution laws