amsterdam sex workers protest against mayor over transfer of red light area
Sex workers in Amsterdam are frustrated because of Femke Halsema’s plan to transfer the famed red light district to an out-of-town “erotic center.” They have also started protests, saying: “If sex workers are not to blame then why are we being punished?”
On Thursday, various people, wearing masks to shield their identity, marched through the streets towards City Hall to protest against the mayor’s decision to transfer the red light district to an out of town purpose-built erotic center.
Femke Halsema, Mayor of Amsterdam, wants to transfer the red light district to a purpose-built erotic center in order to improve Amsterdam’s image. The mayor wants to rid Amsterdam of its image as a “sin city.” She also wants to reduce the rates of petty crime in the area.
What can Amsterdam sex workers expect?
The centuries-old red light district, known as De Wallen, is popular across Amsterdam. In this district, sex workers stand in windows waiting for their customers. Halsema has long criticized the center. She plans to close the red-light district’s brothel windows and move their tenants to a new location. The district is prone to violence and crowding.
Previously, the mayor said, “Sex work belongs to Amsterdam and will never go away. But the situation in the inner city is unsustainable… due to the stream of tourists who regularly misbehave and cause nuisance.” She slammed “nuisance tourism” in the red light area.
However, sex workers said, “If we are not to blame then why are we being punished?” The sex workers said that they do not want to move to an “erotic center.”
The mayor plans to create an “erotic center,” where sex workers can work safely, legally, and undisturbed. The mayor has pledged to protect the rights of sex workers and reduce the number of organized crimes in sex work.
According to the mayor, visitors can expect a wide offering of erotica, culture, and entertainment in the erotic center. The center will consist of 100 rooms for sex workers. However, sex workers dismissed the idea.
A sex worker told the media, “It’s mainly about combating the crowds in De Wallen, but that is not the sex workers’ fault so I don’t see why we should be punished for it.”
More than 20,000 people have already signed a petition against the transfer of the red light area.