Utrecht Red Light District delayed over construction company corruption concerns
The construction of 162 window brothels on the Nieuwe Zandpad in Utrecht was delayed for the time being. An investigation into the investor revealed that "a serious dangerous" exists that crimes are being committed with the property that was to be built, Utrecht Mayor Jan van Zanen said on Thursday, ANP reports.
The investor in question was set to both build and act as landlord for the window brothels. A year ago the municipality was very enthusiastic about the investor. But the contract was given on the condition that the builder would pass an investigation into possible criminal activity, which it did not do. The municipality called this a downer and a setback, according to the news wire.
The municipality of Utrecht terminated the contract with this investor and is now looking for a new one.
Caja van Tolie, former prostitute and founder of the Freya operation where sex workers can work on a freelance basis, is pleased that the municipality is looking for a new investor. She does, however, regret the delay. The first window brothels were set to be ready by this summer, but that will now be at least a year later.
Utrecht withdrew all permits for window prostitution in 2013 based on suspicions of human trafficking and violence in the businesses. Since then the municipality has been working on better regulating window prostitution. The aim is "a pleasant work environment where sex workers can work independently and which has little hinder on the surrounds", according to the mayor.
Coalition party D66 called the delay "horribly annoying" and wants to know what the delay will cost. Opposition party CDA is wondering whether an immaculate builder can be found for this project. "Utrecht wants clean and safe prostitution, but the sector is not known for that." a spokesperson said to the news wire.