(Amsterdam) Sex workers demonstrated in Amsterdam on Thursday to protest against a city hall plan to move brothels in the Red Light District outside the city center to tackle crime and nuisance.
Several dozen activists gathered in the famous district of the Dutch capital, known for its neon-lit windows behind which sex workers stand to attract customers.
Wearing masks to remain anonymous and carrying banners, with texts such as “Save the Red Light District”, the activists marched to City Hall, where a debate on the subject was being held with Mayor Femke Halsema.
The municipality wants brothels in the Red Light District to close down eventually and wants to move legal prostitution from the area, located in the city center, because of crime and rowdy behavior from visitors and tourists.
“We really don’t agree with the solutions they propose and impose, they don’t even negotiate with sex worker organizations,” sex worker Sabrina Sanchez told AFP.
Activists were also protesting against the city’s decision to close brothels earlier at the weekend.
The city wants to create an erotic center with 100 places for sex workers, spaces for work breaks and other places of reception.
“We don’t want to be moved, neither to an erotic center nor anywhere else,” said a sex worker who wanted to remain anonymous, covered in a cap, hood and sunglasses.
“Do something about drug dealers, do something about disrespectful behavior,” she continued, reading a petition in a one-on-one with the mayor.
“Moving away isn’t solving the problem, it’s just relocating it,” she added.
“You’re not to blame, it’s a result of overtourism, crime and other issues,” Ms. Halsema replied.
“But the situation in the city center is becoming very problematic and we have to find a solution,” said the elected official.
Amsterdam also announced on Tuesday the launch of a campaign to discourage tourists from going there only to party, consume alcohol or drugs and visit the famous Red Light District.
The city also announced an upcoming ban on smoking cannabis in the streets of the Red Light District.