A'dam could relocate prostitution outside Red Light District; Christian councilor calls to close all brothels

Sex worker in Amsterdam's Red Light District
Sex worker in Amsterdam's Red Light DistrictPhoto: Alisa24/DepositPhotos

Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema will investigate whether the prostitution sector can be moved out of the Red Light District and located in other parts of the city, including neighborhoods where more workplaces can be found. A prostitution hotel outside the Red Light District is one of the options she is looking into, she said in a city council debate on Thursday, Het Parool reports. 

At the request of a majority in the city council, Halsema will also investigate whether sex workers can be given the option of recruiting customers online, or receive the at home - two things currently not permitted in the Dutch capital. 

When the debate around the future of the Red Light District started a few months ago, Halsema was considering four options - closing all window brothels in the Red Light District, expanding the number of window brothels in the Red Light District, moving some of the window brothels to another location in the city, or closing all the window brothels altogether. Halsema is now narrowing down the options.

The options she is now investigating, can count on majority support in the city council, according to Het Parool. The debate is slowly moving towards Amsterdam residents having to get used to the fact that new workplaces will be created for sex workers, also outside of the Red Light District, the Singel and the Ruysdaelkade. Few of the political parties in Amsterdam object to this.

Though there is disagreement about whether this relocation should lead to fewer window brothels in the city. GroenLinks, Bij1 and D66 want there to be more workplaces for sex workers when this is done. FvD and SP want there to be fewer. And Christian parties CDA and ChristenUnie, and elderly party PvdE even want Amsterdam to close all brothels in the city.

ChristenUnie city councilor Don Ceder called for all window brothels to close in an interview with Trouw. "Amsterdam must become the city of justice, peace and hope, instead of paid sex and drugs", he said. "Thousands of men judge women behind the windows every day: too fat, too short, too black, not pretty enough. Is that the feminism we as a society strive for? The prostitutes themselves do not cause any nuisance, but do attract certain groups and crime. For a city center with a new future, all window brothels must therefore close."

Halsema has not yet formed an opinion on whether relocation will lead to more or fewer workplaces for sex workers. "I want to work out this scenario better first", she said in the city council debate, according to Het Parool. She expects that local residents will resist a brothel or prostitution hotel in their neighborhood. Halsema is also still investigating the financial consequences - closing windows on the Red Light District can cause hundreds of millions of euros in plan damage, she said.