Amsterdam to move sex workers out of city centre in tourism reset

Date Added: February 02, 2021 01:36:22 AM
Author: Sutra Web Directory
Category: News & References
Brothel windows in red light district to be closed and ‘erotic centre’ set up elsewhere instead

The brothel windows of Amsterdam’s red light district will be closed and an “erotic centre” will be set up away from the city centre, councillors have agreed.

A proposal from the city’s mayor, Femke Halsema, to shut down a significant number of the windows in the narrow alleys around the docks was backed by a broad group of political parties.

The sex workers in the De Wallen red light district will be invited to move to a purpose-built centre elsewhere in Amsterdam, the location of which remains to be determined.

The CDA and ChristenUnie have long lobbied for the closure of the windows, and they have now been backed by the VVD, the party of the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, as well as the Labour party and the Greens.

“This is about a reset of Amsterdam as a visitor city,” said Dennis Boutkan, of the Dutch Labour party. The CDA’s Diederik Boomsma said: “Tourists are welcome to enjoy the beauty and freedom of the city, but not at any cost. We have to intervene firmly.”

Halsema had argued that the brothel windows should be closed as women working in the area had become a tourist attraction, attracting gawping and abuse.

When the idea was first proposed, a newly formed lobby group named Red Light United claimed that 90% of the 170 female sex workers it had surveyed wanted to work in the windows in the narrow alleys and canalside streets of the Singel and De Wallen.

One member of the group, going by the pseudonym Foxxy, told the Het Parool newspaper at the time: “Relocating those workplaces is not an option because then the customers will not know where to find the sex workers. Will Halsema also sometimes organise bus trips for them to the Westelijk Havengebied [a district north of the city centre]?”

However, the majority of councillors agreed that the relocation was necessary to change the type of tourists being attracted to Amsterdam.

A second proposal to ban tourists from buying cannabis from the city’s cafes is struggling to win support owing to fears that it will hand over trade to dealers on the streets.

The parties in the city’s ruling coalition – the liberal D66 party, the Greens, Labour and the Socialist party – have voiced serious doubts about the mayor’s plans, according to Het Parool.

“I fear a growth in unhealthy drug use among visitors and the impact of street trade on our young people,” the D66’s Alexander Hammelburg said.