According to ND, the first female mayor of Amsterdam, Femke Halsema, began plans to reconstruct the city’s red-light district and its window displays in order to protect sex workers from tourists. She suggested stopping fully the sex workers from standing on window displays.
She added that changes were needed because of the increase of human trafficking and a rise in the number of tourists who are visiting the district and use their phones to post pictures of the women, even though it is forbidden.
Halsema added that many women in the red-light feel humiliated, and that is one of the reasons changes are happening.
There are four plans which are under consideration: ending street window display; improve the licensing of window workers; cutting down the number of city-center brothels, or closing them down altogether and moving them elsewhere. The scenarios have been titled as “The Future of Windows Prostitution in Amsterdam”. It also includes a bigger project for an “erotic city zone”, which will have a clear entryway gate, in the style of Hamburg’s red-light area. Those plans will be presented to residents and businesses at town hall meetings this month, following a vote in the city council later this year.
There had been efforts to curb the red-light district by sex workers and businesses involved in the prostitution trade. The mayor said there were no plans to prohibit prostitution because, according to her, it gives workers rights, unlike the United States, where the profession is illegal and this situation makes them very vulnerable.
Those changes will protect women from demeaning working conditions, to prevent crime and to recover the 500-year-old neighborhood, which is part of a UNESCO world heritage site.
Prostitutes’ first responses to the plans were not enthusiastic: Foxxy Angel, a sex worker, said that will make the scene go underground. She added that several women are happy to work behind windows, where hygienic standards are met and they can make eye contact with the customers. She also admitted that sex workers had problems with unguided party groups and tourists impolite behaviors.
Angel, a member of PROUD, a union defending sex workers’ interests also claimed that tourists don’t know how to behave themselves in that place.