Women working on the Zandpad houseboats in Utrecht. June 29, 2009 (photo: Mario Arias / Flickr) Women working on the Zandpad houseboats in Utrecht. June 29, 2009 (photo: Mario Arias / Flickr)
Sex trafficking signs a valid reason to shut Utrecht red light dist.
The city of Utrecht was not in the wrong when it revoked the permit for over 20 prostitution boats and nine window brothels operated by Werga B.V., the Council of State ruled on Tuesday. The municipality revoked the permit based on a criminal investigation which revealed numerous signs of human trafficking on Zandpad and Hardenbollenstraat, Utrecht's former red light district. According to the Council, this was a valid reason to withdraw the permit. Werga did nothing to stop or prevent these signals and the city therefore had sufficient reason to believe that human trafficking may take place in these brothels in future. "Bot the managers and operators of Werga did not adequately respond to these signs of human trafficking which they observed or should have observed. Werga also failed to notify the police or municipality about these signals." the Council said. The Utrecht municipality withdrew the licenses of all window and boat brothels in the city in July 2013. In September last year, the city adopted a zoning plan for a new red light district, close to the former location on Zandpad. The city wants to concentrate all window prostitution in the city of Utrecht to this location. An appeal was filed against this plan and the procedure is still ongoing.